Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, February 21, 2020

Lawyers near and far go big for Democrat judicial candidates; Republican challengers take note in 'we don't owe anyone' message


By The Madison County Record | Oct 16, 2018


SPRINGFIELD – Four law firms provided 59 percent of itemized contributions to judicial campaigns of Democrats Heinz Rudolf, John O’Gara, and Christopher Kolker in the quarter ending Sept. 30. 

John Simmons’s firm, Simmons Hanly Conroy of East Alton, gave $11,000 each to O’Gara and Kolker, $10,000 to Rudolf. 

Randy Gori’s firm, Gori Julian of Edwardsville, gave $11,000 to O’Gara and $10,000 to Rudolf. 

Todd Mathews of Gori Julian gave $1,000 each to O’Gara and Rudolf. Mathews is campaign chair for Kolker. 

Tom Keefe’s firm, Keefe, Keefe, and Unsell of Swansea, gave $10,000 to Rudolf and $8,000 to O’Gara. 

The firm of Maune Raichle in St. Louis gave Kolker $11,000. 

Together, the four firms provided $84,000 to the three candidates. 

All other itemized contributions to the candidates added up to $59,701.15, with at least 40 percent of that coming from lawyers. 

Republican candidates opposing O'Gara and Rudolf have taken issue with the heavy spending by lawyers - mainly asbestos and personal injury - in this campaign cycle.

Paul Evans and Katherine Ruocco have teamed up in videos posted on Facebook with messages saying that unlike their opponents, "we weren't appointed by the establishment to protect the status quo. They were, and they'll still be judges even after they lose.

"...The difference between us and the other two candidates is we will keep politics out of the courtroom. We haven't taken any campaign contributions from lawyers who will appear before us...We don't owe anyone."

O’Gara received $2,500 from the Walton Telken firm in Edwardsville and $1,500 from Clyde Kuehn and his firm in Belleville. 

He received $1,000 each from the firms of Cates Mahoney in Swansea and Weilmuenster Keck in Belleville. 

He received $1,000 each from Belleville lawyers Christopher Cueto, Rhonda Fiss, and Thomas Rich. 

Rudolf received $2,500 each from Walton Telken and the Korein Tillery firm in St. Louis, and $1,500 from Kuehn and his firm. 

He received $1,000 each from Cueto, Fiss, and Rich. 

He received $1,000 each from Blake Law Group, the firm of Hipskind and McAninch, and the firm of Nelson and Nelson, all in Belleville. 

He received $1,000 from John Driscoll, an Illinois resident with a St. Louis office. 

In all, lawyers provided at least $109,000 of itemized individual contributions to O’Gara, Rudolf, and Kolker. 

In a total of $143,751.15, that’s 76 percent. 

Fifth District appellate court candidate Kevin Hoerner, who received $87,500 in itemized contributions, received at least $60,650 of it from lawyers. 

That’s 69 percent. 

Chicago lawyers supplied $32,400. 

The firm of Power, Rogers, and Smith gave Hoerner $11,000, and Joseph Power and Todd Smith provided $5,600 each for a total of $22,200. 

Robert Clifford of Chicago gave Hoerner $2,500, and Keith Hebeisen of Clifford’s firm gave him $2,500. 

Philip Corboy of Chicago gave Hoerner $2,700, and the Chicago firm of Cooney and Conway gave him $2,500. 

Simmons’s firm gave Hoerner $10,750, and Michael Angelides, Perry Browder, Judy Conroy, and Paul Hanly of his firm, each gave him $1,000. 

Gori’s firm gave him $2,500, and Christopher Layloff of the firm gave him $1,000. 

The firm of Goldenberg Heller in Edwardsville gave him $3,000. 

Walton Telken, Korein Tillery, Brad Badgley of Belleville, and Rich each gave him $2,500. 

David Galanti of Bethalto and Susan Whittaker of Swansea each gave him $1,000. 

Hoerner started the quarter with $55,601.43. 

On top of itemized individual contributions, he received $3,831 in unitemized individual contributions and $16,200 in transfers from other committees. 

Pipe trades in Springfield transferred $5,000 to him, steamfitters in Caseyville transferred $1,500, and carpenters in St. Louis transferred $1,000. 

Hoerner spent $84,778.25. 

He paid $28,280 to Sikorski Signs in Belleville, and $10,000 for consulting at Marlin Strategies in Bethesda, Maryland. 

He ended the quarter with $78,354.18. 

Hoerner opposes Fifth District Justice David Overstreet. 

O’Gara, who faces Evans, started the quarter with $23,193.87. 

He received $62,356.15 in individual contributions, $5,300 in transfers, and $3,483.79 in loans. 

He spent $43,040.72, more than a third of it at Freeburg Printing. 

He ended the quarter with $51,293.09.

Evans received $3,000 in individual contributions: $1,000 apiece from retired businessmen Greg Cundiff and George Obernagel and $1,000 from county board member John West. He also received a $2,000 loan from David Snyder of O'Fallon.

He started the third quarter with $8,253, spent $12,377.90, and had $875.10 available at the close of the reporting period. 

Rudolf, who opposes Ruocco, started the quarter with $33,108.13. 

He received $73,661.55 in individual contributions, $6,000 in transfers, and $1,156.32 in loans. 

He spent $34,060.20, more than 40 percent of it at Freeburg Printing. 

He ended the quarter with $81,040.80. 

Ruocco, who filed as self-funding, provided her committee with $5,135.81 in individual contributions and provided $4,100 in in-kind contributions. She began the quarter with $5 and spent $5,115.81 on printing and advertising.

Kolker, who opposes Laninya Cason, started the quarter with $110,979.01.  

He received $27,725 in individual contributions and $500 in transfers. 

He spent $28,155.17, and ended the quarter with $110,948.84. 

Cason hasn’t organized a campaign committee. 

Candidates in Illinois can spend up to $5,000 without organizing.     

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Organizations in this Story

The Gori Law FirmSimmons Hanly ConroyCitizens for Paul EvansBlake Law GroupWalton Telken Foster LLCCommittee to Elect Katherine RuoccoMaune, Raichle, Hartley, French & MuddKeefe Keefe Unsell.Cates Mahoney

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