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Arguments on review of McHenry County judge's petition for candidacy set for February

McHenry County Judge Justin M. Hansen
McHenry County Judge Justin M. Hansen

A judge in February will hear oral arguments from a local Democrat seeking review of a sitting McHenry County judge’s petition for candidacy.

McHenry County Democratic Party Precinct Committeewoman Cindy Pilz filed her petition for judicial review Jan. 7.

The request came on the heels of the McHenry County Electoral Board of Commissioners’ Jan. 3 decision to overrule her previous objection to Judge Justin M. Hansen’s petition for candidacy.

Pilz filed her objection Dec. 9 on the basis that Hansen incorrectly identified the seat he hopes to fill as the “vacancy of Michael J. Sullivan,” rather than “Additional Judgeship A.”

The electoral board ruled that it was clear which vacancy Hansen was campaigning for and wouldn’t cause confusion among voters.

A DeKalb County judge has been assigned to preside over oral arguments in the matter, which are scheduled to take place Feb. 3 at the McHenry County Courthouse.

In a news release issued Tuesday, Hansen said he’s confident his spot on the March 17 primary ballot is safe.

“Folks understand this tactic for what it is: My politician opponents know they can’t defeat me in an election, so they are trying to circumvent the voters,” Hansen said. “When the voters look at the experience and qualifications of all the candidates for this position, voters will keep me on the bench knowing that we need integrity in our courts, not more politicians and political stunts.”

Hansen is one of four people hoping to secure the 3rd Subcircuit judicial seat. Running against him are Mary McClellan, R-Holiday Hills; Jeannie Ridings, D-Crystal Lake; and Donald Brewer, R-Algonquin.

Reached by phone Thursday, Pilz’s attorney, Ed Mullen, said he wasn’t aware of any political motivation his client might have to object to Hansen’s petition.

“She just called and asked me to help her because she thought that it was confusing and that people should understand when they’re signing a petition what office the candidate is seeking,” Mullen said.

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Hansen in 2018 to fill a circuit judge vacancy left by retired Chief Judge Michael J. Sullivan.

The appointment took effect Feb. 4, 2019, and lasted until
Dec. 7.

Voters would need to reelect Hansen as judge for him to retain the seat.

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