Justice David Overstreet has easily won a permanent seat to the Fifth District Appellate Court.
According 82 percent of precincts reporting in 37 counties of the district, Overstreet, Republican, was up by 16 points over Democrat Kevin Hoerner, 58 to 42 percent, or 237,885 to 172,154 votes.
In the five-county Twentieth Judicial Circuit, Overstreet's overall margin of victory was narrower, by two points.
The biggest block of voters in the circuit - St. Clair County - favored their hometown candidate Hoerner 48,129 to 40,020, a 10-point margin of 55-45 percent, and a difference of 8,109 votes.
Overstreet thanked voters on social media.
"I have been honored to campaign in all 37 counties of the Fifth Appellate District over the past year," he stated. "I have met some wonderful people and made many friends along the way. I have gained a greater appreciation and love for Southern Illinois over the past year. With the love and support of my family and friends it has been an enjoyable and worthwhile experience."
Overstreet has been seated at the Fifth District by appointment since February 2017, having filled a position that became vacant after James Moore was elected to a permanent position to the bench in 2016.
Before his appointment to the appellate court, Overstreet, of Mount Vernon, served as a circuit judge at the Second Judicial Circuit. He was appointed in 2007 and elected to the seat in 2008, and was retained in 2014. Before serving as judge, he was in private practice for 16 years.
Hoerner has been in private practice since 1987 and has served as an assistant St. Clair County state's attorney handling civil matters since 1996. He also has served as a special assistant attorney general handling condemnation cases for the Illinois Department of Transportation since 2001.
The race did not come to be a million-dollar battle as previous Fifth District contests had.
Democrats spent $1,731,670.25 on a pair of appellate court races in 2016, but did not come close to matching that for Hoerner.
A committee like one that spent $1 million for Jo Beth Weber and Joseph Bleyer in 2016 – Fair Courts Now – sprang up for Hoerner - Fair Judicial Alliance - but it did not amount to much. Trial lawyers put up $50,000 which was spent on research, but not much else materialized from the committee.
With Overstreet's election, the balance of the Fifth District Appellate Court will become a 5-2 Republican to Democrat court, as the likely replacement for Overstreet's appointed position also will be Republican.