Two campaign for judge in 14th Judicial Circuit race

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It will be winner take all in the March primary in the race for Circuit Court Judge in the 14th Judicial Circuit.

Attorneys Kathleen Mesich and Clayton Lee are running as Democrats, and there's no Republican in the race.

"My father was a judge for over 20 years in Rock Island County, I do say I come by it naturally," said Mesich, of Coal Valley.

Lee is a third generation attorney from East Moline.

"I feel I'm the most qualified candidate," Lee said.

Lee received high marks from fellow attorneys in a recent Illinois State Bar Association survey. About 85 percent of the respondents said they believe Lee has the legal ability for the office. Only about 37 percent of attorneys polled said they believe Mesich has the legal ability.

86 percent said they believe Lee meets the requirements for the office, and only 40 percent said they believe Mesich meets the requirements.

Candidates must receive at least 65 percent in that category, so Mesich was "not recommended" overall.

Mesich says since less than  half of the 342 ballots mailed to attorneys in the 14th Judidical Circuit even took part in the survey, the numbers are a small sample of opinions from her peers.

Still, she called the survey "upsetting."

"There's no question about that.  I don't think that makes me any less qualified to do the job. I actually have the endorsement of retired judges on the bench," she said.

Lee says he values the poll from his peers.

"To me that is the best endorsement I can get. Those are the people we work with on a day to day basis in and out of court," he said.

Both are 39 years old, and in general law practice. Both have little experience in criminal law. Both are campaigning hard for the $186,000 a year job, where the primary decides the winner because there are no Republicans running for the bench.

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