Races for two seats on the 5th District Appellate Court at Mount Vernon were won Tuesday by Republicans: incumbent Justice Randy Moore of Carterville, and Madison County Circuit Judge John Barberis.
Their election means the 5th District Appellate Court, which covers the metro-east and Southern Illinois, will likely have a Republican majority for the first time. Elections for appellate judges in the district began in the 1960s.
Moore is currently serving as an appointed justice on the appeals court. When he’s sworn in, Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, a Republican, will appoint someone to replace Moore. That appointee will almost assuredly be a Republican, which would give the court a 4-3 GOP majority.
Moore was challenged by Democrat Jo Beth Weber, who is a circuit judge in Jefferson County. Barberis ran against Brad K. Bleyer, a Democrat and judge serving in the 1st Judicial Circuit, in deep Southern Illinois.
In a last-minute campaign, plaintiff attorneys from the metro-east and St. Louis region had poured about $1 million into a Political Action Committee, called Fair Courts Now, which ran commercials attacking Moore and Barberis.
Barberis said Wednesday he thinks the attack ads actually hurt Weber and Bleyer.
“Quite frankly, I believe if they hadn’t received that type of attention from that group, the race would have been a lot closer,” Barberis said. “The voters are not quite as gullible as the Fair Courts group thought they were.”
Quite frankly, I believe if they hadn’t received that type of attention from that group, the race would have been a lot closer. The voters are not quite as gullible as the Fair Courts group thought they were.
Judge John Barberis, elected to appellate court
Barberis estimated that his campaign spent $30,000 to $35,000 on the race.
“I’m very much humbled by the results from last night. I wasn’t expecting to win in the fashion that we did,” he said. “I attribute it to a lot of good people helping me, a really good social media campaign, and getting out and meeting the voters throughout the last 16 months.”
Final but unofficial results in the Bleyer-Barberis race:
▪ Bleyer: 238,255
▪ Barberis: 305,727
Final but unofficial results in the Weber-Moore race:
▪ Weber: 251,963
▪ Moore: 296,236