As we noted last week, candidates for judicial office can file for as many openings as there are where they live. Come the March Primary, some precincts will have as many as 12 circuit court seats on the ballot, though candidates won’t be able to file for some of those seats until the January Filing Period. Candidates could file for as many as seven seats (nine, if you include the Appellate Court) if they lived in the right part of the state. No one did, but one, Margaret Ann Carrey of Chicago, filed for five seats.
All told, 147 candidates filed for 49 judicial seats, including 13 candidates who filed for two seats, 11 who filed for three, and two who filed for four seats. These multiple filers have done nothing wrong; they have taken advantage of the rules to find the most advantageous contest for the judicial post they want to hold. They have five business days from the end of filing to size up the fields and selectively withdraw until they are running in no more than one contest. As a Christmas present, they have until the close of business on Tuesday, December 27th to decide.
And don’t forget, the second round of filing is coming early next month – another 14 judicial offices are on the ballot, and candidates for those can file between January 3 and January 10. Not to mention the possibility that some incumbents who forgot to file for retention might challenge the open-ness of their seats, and the threat that the legislature will take away seats in the 19th and 22nd circuits. Judicial elections are worth watching.