Republican Ron Duebbert has been elected circuit judge in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, defeating Democrat incumbent, Chief Judge John Baricevic.
"The voters of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit have spoken," Duebbert said. "I am honored they placed their trust in me so that I can bring honesty, integrity and fairness back to the courthouse. A new day is dawning for our courts."
Deubbert won by a margin of 50.2 to 49.8 percent. He won 81,881 to 80,929, a difference of 952 votes in the five counties of the circuit - St. Clair, Monroe, Perry, Randolph and Washington.
Results were slow to come in to St. Clair County. At 12:30 a.m., elections head Tom Holbrook said that his office still had to count touch screen votes and two outstanding precincts.
In East St. Louis, which operates an elections office independent of the county's, vote totals were not posted until nearly six hours after polls closed.
In the counties outside of St. Clair, Duebbert carried the vote by a margin of nearly 2-1.
In St. Clair County, Baricevic topped Duebbert 54 to 46 percent, or by 10,074 votes.
Baricevic also got 93 percent of the vote in East St. Louis, 9,070 to Duebbert's 647.
Baricevic's Democratic counterparts, circuit judges Robert Haida and Robert LeChien, were elected.
Haida was unopposed.
LeChien, defeated Republican Laninya Cason by a margin of 51 to 49 percent, or 58,559 to 56,343.
Cason lost the election by voters in East St. Louis who gave LeChien 6,564 votes and 3,367 to her.
Last year, the three incumbent judges rejected the tradition of retention that all Illinois judges (except one) have followed since 1970.
In August 2015, they submitted their resignations to be effective Dec. 4, the day before the court's swearing-in ceremony takes place.
Their actions created vacancies to their own seats. They filed paperwork to run for election to their vacancies which would only require 50 percent plus one to win, versus retention which requires at least 60 percent voter approval.
In the course of doing so, they faced challenges at the State Board of Elections and in court, but rulings remained in their favor and the judges were allowed to stay on the ballot.
Two of the judges, Baricevic and LeChien, also picked up political opponents along the way.