Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Appellate justice in 'full campaign mode' as he seeks election to seat on the bench

By John Breslin | Jun 18, 2018

Justice David Overstreet, who seeks election to a seat on the Fifth District Appellate Court, says he is in full campaign mode ahead of the November election.

But the judge, who currently sits on the bench by appointment, notes that his approach to campaigning is somewhat different from the often money-driven type that is prevalent in political races.

"Campaign finances - I do not address that, and do not look at what my opponent is not look to see what is raised on my behalf," Overstreet, a Republican, told the Record.

"I am not supposed to look into that, though I know folks are working on my behalf," he added. "It is a different type of election and process in many respects."

As a sitting judge, Overstreet notes he cannot directly get involved in fundraising. His opponent, Belleville attorney Kevin Hoerner is similarly restricted as a candidate.

According to Illinois State Board of Elections records, Overstreet's campaign committee has raised $10,000 mostly from individuals outside the Metro-East in southern Illinois. Overstreet, 52, resides in Mt. Vernon.

Hoerner's campaign committee has raised nearly $90,000, largely from sources in the Metro-East and practicing attorneys or law firms. 

Both candidates recently received "highly qualified" ratings from the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Judicial Evaluations Committe.

Overstreet said he was "in full campaign mode other than when performing my duties on the bench of the Fifth District. I am going at it 110 percent."

He said it involves many meetings with people from all over the district, and he is "enjoying the process."

This is not his "first rodeo," Overstreet said as he successfully contested election for circuit court judge in the 2nd Judicial District a year after being appointed to the position.

Earlier this month, Overstreet was selected to serve for a year as treasurer of the Illinois Judges' Association, an organization he has been involved for some years. This includes year-long terms on its board of directors.

But it is clear that one current job off the bench and away from campaigning is igniting some passion. He is on a committee that is tasked with placing a digital reproduction of a famous 1860 photograph of Abraham Lincoln in all 102 Illinois county courthouses.

This is being done by the IJA in partnership with the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Judges Foundation, and the Illinois State Historical Society. It commemorates the Illinois bicentennial.

And Overstreet was at the Madison County Courthouse on Wednesday when the portrait by Alexander Hesler was unveiled. He also attended similar ceremonies in St. Clair and Jefferson counties.

"What better representative of the highest legal and ethical standard," said Overstreet. "A premier lawyer, but he also served as a judge from time to time, chosen as a judge to preside over several cases."

Overstreet is also enthusiastic about other programs sponsored by the IJA, including where judges visit schools to warn against making poor decisions as youths.

He coaches youth sports, is a board member of Mentors for Kids, Inc. and Lifeboat Alliance, is a deacon at the Mt. Vernon Church of Christ, and is a member of the Mt. Vernon Rotary Club, a short biography released by the IJA states.

On his time on the bench, Overstreet said, "I have been blessed the last 11 years, including these 16 months on the appellate court."

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