In a First, Democratic Judicial Candidates Win Seats in 13th Sub-Circuit Court

One little-noticed area that was swept by the Nov. 6 blue wave is the 13th Sub-Circuit Court District of Cook County. Until this year, no Democratic judicial candidate had won

an election in that district, ever since elections for the sub-circuit courts were first held in 1992. The 13th Sub-Circuit Court comprises the townships of Barrington, Palatine, Hanover, Schaumburg, and the northwestern section of Wheeling Township.  And this year, all three Democratic candidates won seats on that bench. Congratulations to Ketki “Kay” Steffen, Samuel J. Betar III, and Shannon P. O’Malley!

Cook County has 15 sub-circuit courts to handle its annual, million-plus caseload. Prior to its implementation, supporters of the sub-circuit system argued that it would allow more minorities to become judges, according to a January 1993 analysis in Illinois Issues. That didn't quite happen in the 13th District, where unopposed, white Republican candidates were a usual occurrence on the ballot over the last 26 years. But this year, with turnout at 55.66 percent, voters clearly preferred the three excellent, Democratic judicial candidates. At a GPAD fundraiser last month, Steffen said, "For Democratic judges, the legal business is not a business--it's a people business."

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