O'Gara (left) and Evans
Republican Paul Evans is not conceding defeat in the race for an open spot on the 20th Judicial Circuit.
It is still too close to call, Evans told the Record, adding that he may wait until all provisional and outstanding, ballots are counted before Nov. 20 in the five county circuit.
Evans, an O'Fallon-based attorney, was up against sitting Associate Judge John O'Gara for the position vacated by the retiring Judge Vincent Lopinot.
Unofficial results show that O'Gara defeated him by approximately 4,000 votes, with 51.4 percent of the vote against Evans' 48.6 percent. The totals were 65,077 for O'Gara and 61,069 for Evans, who won more votes in all counties outside of St. Clair.
"I think it's still too close to call," Evans said, adding that he believes there are as many as 6,000 votes outstanding.
"This race was close and I am pleased with the campaign," Evans said. "It was tough year for Republicans to be running, and I was up against the amount of resources my opponent had."
Evans said he hit all the targets, including in East St. Louis where he wanted to stay within 10,000 votes of his opponent. In a low turnout in the city, O'Gara defeated Evans by 96 to 4 percent, or, 6,685 to 283 votes.
Overall, Evans said he lost by a tiny percentage in St. Clair County.
"I am very grateful to the citizens of this circuit that they entrusted me this job. I will work very hard to be the best judge I can,” O’Gara said in a statement regarding the unofficial results showing him in the lead.
Ahead of the election, Democrat O'Gara cited his experience since being appointed to the bench in 2016, the support and respect of the legal community, and his impartiality as the core elements that he hopes will lead to voters to elect him to as circuit court judge.
Evans, who knew that he was disadvantaged by the historical strength of the Democrats within the circuit, delivered a message that he is independent and free of any deep political affiliation.
"I am running as a Republican, but have always been my own man, self made, and not cognizant of political affiliations," Evans said.