Republicans dominate judge seats in First Judicial Circuit Court - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Republicans dominate judge seats in First Judicial Circuit Court races

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WSIL-- A big win for republicans in the first judicial circuit court races. Marion resident Stephen Green defeated Democrat David Lawler, also of Marion, by nearly 2,500 votes. 

The two men were battling for Williamson County resident judge Philip Palmer Senior's vacancy. Green, a practicing attorney and Marion's City attorney, believes he won due to his experience over Lawler, who co-founded a law firm in 2012. 

"The difference between us was about 21 years," Green explains. "My opponent is a nice person. I like him, but the experience I think makes a difference." 

Republican judge John Sanders won in a landslide against lawyer E. Ryan Hall for Williamson County Resident Judge Carolyn Smoot's seat. Sanders was appointed in 2016 when Smoot retired and won by two-thirds of the vote in the midterm election.  

"It's very humbling to see such overwhelming support. You throw yourself out to the public and you never know how you'll be received," Sanders says. 

After Smoot retired, there was a gap in female at-large and residing judges until Carey Gill was appointed to take over for at-large Judge James "Randy" Moore when he retired in 2017. On Tuesday night, she was elected for the position in her race against democrat opponent Jason Olson. 

Similar to Gill, Republican Amanda Byassee Gott took a big win against Union County's State Attorney Tyler Edmonds for an at-large seat. She has 19 years of experience as a lawyer and has litigated in all nine counties of the first circuit.

"I really just think my experience and qualifications have spoken for itself," Byassee Gott says. "I think that showed through in terms of the votes that I do have people that know me in each county. "

The only democrat candidate to win a first circuit seat is Christy Solverson. She defeated republican Steven M. Bost by 1,400 votes. 

Solverson is currently an associate judge for the first circuit in Jackson county and will take over for judge William Schwartz, who's the county's presiding circuit judge. 

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