The race to fill an open seat on the Fifth District Appellate Court has seen an infusion of trial lawyer campaign cash in recent weeks - from near and far.
Belleville attorney Kevin Hoerner, Democrat, faces Justice David Overstreet, Republican, in a contest for the vacancy being created by Justice Richard Goldenhersh's upcoming retirement.
For Hoerner, asbestos attorneys at Simmons Hanly Conroy in Alton, New York and Chicago, as well as the firm, contributed $14,750 during the last week of August; personal injury firm Power Rogers Smith of Chicago and two of its principals contributed $22,200; Clifford Law Office of Chicago and attorney Keith Hebeisen contributed $5,000; Corboy & Demetrio of Chicago contributed $2,700 and Cooney & Conway contributed $2,500.
Hoerner's campaign committee also received $22,640 in other contributions exceeding $1,000 since the last reporting period ended in June. In the second quarter, his campaign reported having received $22,600.
Overstreet's committee, by comparison, has not reported receipt of any contributions exceeding $1,000 since the end of the second quarter. His campaign committee reported having received $18,090 through June 30.
The court's current political balance leans conservative, 4-3. If Overstreet is elected to a permanent seat, that balance would likely shift to 5-2 when his current position gets filled at the recommendation of Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, Republican.
Overstreet 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 February 2017, Overtstreet was assigned by Karmeier and the Illinois Supreme Court to fill a vacancy at the Fifth District that was created when James Moore was elected in 2016 to a permanent position on the appellate court.
Hoerner is partner at Becker, Hoerner, Thompson & Ysursa, handling plaintiff and defense civil litigation.
He 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.
The Fifth Judicial District is comprised of 37 southern Illinois counties.