Primary election will decide winner of most Cook County judicial races

By Bethany Krajelis | Mar 17, 2014

For many of the Cook County judicial candidates whose names will appear on the ballot Tuesday, a win in the primary election guarantees them the position they are running for as they face no opposition in November.

Cook County voters pulling a Democratic ballot Tuesday will have nearly two dozen judicial races to vote in while those voting Republican will only have to cast their choice in one contested race and that's only if they live in a certain sub-circuit.

Out of the 11 countywide judicial races that will appear on the ballots, voters will really only have to choose a candidate in six of those races as the other five are uncontested.

One of the three races to fill vacancies on the First District Appellate Court is also unopposed.

And for voters who tend to follow judicial evaluations and ratings from the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), the Chicago Bar Association (CBA) and the Chicago Council of Lawyers (CCL), the choice in some of the contested races may not be too difficult to make.

For instance, in the race to fill one of the vacancies on the First District Appellate Court, the ISBA deemed Sheldon A. Harris, who currently sits on the appellate court, "qualified," but gave "not qualified" ratings to the other two candidates, Cook County Judges Susan Kennedy Sullivan and Freddrenna M. Lyle.

The CBA gave Sullivan, an at-large circuit judge, a "not recommended" rating and "qualified" marks to Lyle, a resident sub-circuit judge, and Harris.

The CCL deemed Harris and Sullivan "qualified" and Lyle "unqualified" in the race that will fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Joseph Gordon.

The other contested appellate court race features John B. Simon and Sharon Oden Johnson, both of whom are seeking to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice John O. Steele.

Simon, who currently sits on the First District, was deemed "highly" and "well qualified"  from all three bar groups. The same groups gave Johnson, a resident sub-circuit judge, "not qualified" and "not recommended" evaluations.

To view the evaluations and ratings of all of the judicial candidates running in Tuesday's primary election, click on the groups' names: Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Council of Lawyers.

More information on the candidates, as well as round-ups on endorsements and recommendations, can be found on the Illinois Civil Justice League's election site,

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