Democrat Ron Matekaitis defeated Republican Bill Brady on Tuesday to fill the 23rd Judicial Circuit judge position.
According to unofficial vote totals, Matekaitis received 20,282 votes, or 52 percent, while Brady received 18,722, or 48 percent.
“I said from the beginning, it was a privilege to run in this race with Judge Brady,” Matekaitis said.
Running for election is always a challenge, he said, “but when you do so against a person you respect and like, it makes it easier and more difficult.”
Matekaitis and Brady have known each other for more than 30 years. Matekaitis said the two continued to work well together throughout the campaign. Both currently are associate judges in the 16th Judicial Circuit, which includes DeKalb, Kane and Kendall counties.
DeKalb and Kendall counties will separate from the 16th Circuit in December and form the 23rd Judicial Circuit. Matekaitis said he will assume the circuit judge position in December.
Although circuit judges are elected, associate judges are appointed by circuit judges. Brady will remain an associate judge. Circuit judges will choose the person who fills Matekaitis’ associate judge vacancy.
In addition to appointing other judges, circuit judges approve rules that govern circuit operations and can hear felony criminal cases.
Brady said the campaign was not particularly stressful because the two remained positive throughout, and voters had two good choices.
“That made running for all this what it should be: Put your qualifications out there and let the people decide,” he said.
Before being appointed judge in 2009, Matekaitis served as DeKalb County’s state’s attorney for nine years. He’s also been the city attorney for the City of DeKalb, village attorney for Kirkland and Waterman, a state’s attorney appellate prosecutor and a special assistant attorney general.
Brady has been a judge since 2003. Before that, he was a partner at a private law firm for 18 years, and worked as a prosecutor in the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office from 1975 to 85.