Belleville attorney Kevin Hoerner has submitted paperwork to run in the spring primary as a Democratic candidate for the Fifth District Appellate Court, in a seat being vacated by retiring Justice Richard Goldenhersh.

Hoerner filed signature petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections in Springfield on Monday.

His Republican counterpart, Justice David Overstreet of Mt. Vernon, filed his petitions with the board of elections on Tuesday morning.

Neither campaign has actively actively raised funds to date, according to the board of elections' website.

And as of Tuesday afternoon, Hoerner's campaign had not yet activated a finance committee with the state board of elections.

Whether this appellate court race attracts million dollar-plus financing as previous contests have remains to be seen. But with the court's current balance already favoring conservatives at 4-3, voters in southern Illinois' 37 counties could be subject to high intensity campaiging as Democrats fight to keep the seat being vacated.

The election of Overstreet could put the court to a 5-2 conservative balance; the election of Hoerner would keep the balance at 4-3.

A partner at Becker, Hoerner, Thompson & Ysursa, Hoerner's bio on the firm's web page indicates that he is involved in civil litigation - handling both plaintiff and defense, as well as municipal law.

His bio also states that he regularly serves as local counsel in St. Clair County and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois "for various Fortune 500 companies."

Hoerner also serves as an assistant attorney general for the state, assistant state's attorney for St. Clair County, and attorney for Stookey Township and Fairview Heights.

Hoerner had not returned a phone call placed earlier this month seeking comment regarding his candidacy.

The Record has reported extensively on Hoerner's involvement in civil litigation in local courts, which has predominantly featured his representation of plaintiffs. Hoerner and his firm have contributed substantially to Democratic candidates and causes on the local, state and federal levels over many years.

Overstreet currently is seated at the Fifth District, assigned by Justice Lloyd Karmeier and the Illinois Supreme Court to fill a vacancy that was created when James Moore was elected last November to a permanent position on the appellate court.

He was first elected circuit judge in 2008 to the Second Judicial Circuit, which includes his home county of Jefferson, as well as Crawford, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne and White counties.

In 2014, Overstreet was retained to a second six-year term. And while he is presently assigned to the Fifth District, he still holds his seat at the Second Circuit which would be up for retention in 2020, unless he wins election to a permanent seat on the appellate court next year.

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