Voting for Judges in Cook County in the November General Election

The Benchmark PAC for Cook County Judges sets a threshold of 100% positive ratings from area bar associations and 15 years of experience. Benchmark includes analysis of write-ups from the Chicago Council of Lawyers, the Chicago Bar Association, and the Illinois State Bar Association in establishing recommendations.

General Election

Most of the candidates on Cook County ballots who are running for election to the Circuit Court of Cook County are running unopposed as Democrats. Having won their primary elections in the spring, they face no opposition from Republicans in the general election.

(Please don’t ask me how this qualifies as “nonpartisan.”)

Five suburban subcircuit races feature one candidate in each of the major parties, and based on their ratings from the spring primaries, the following candidates meet Benchmark thresholds:

12th Subcircuit – Maki Vacancy
121      Joel Chupack (D)
122      David Studenroth (R)

13th Subcircuit – Crane Vacancy
121      Ketki “Kay” Steffen (D)
122      Gary William Seyring (R)

13th Subcircuit – Lawrence Vacancy
124      Daniel Patrick Fitzgerald (R)

13th Subcircuit – O’Donnell Vacancy
125      Samuel J. Betar, III (D)

15th Subcircuit – Zelezinski Vacancy
122      Scott McKenna (D)

In the interest of a fair application of its criteria, Benchmark leaves it to voters in the Maki and Crane Vacancy races to choose based either on the nuances within positive ratings (see page 7 of the results from the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening for details; the Chicago Bar Association rates Joel Chupack “highly qualified” and David Studenroth, Ketki “Kay” Steffen, and Gary William Seyring “qualified”) or on party affiliation.


Assessment of the results of judicial evaluations at and indicates that voters should vote NO on the candidates for retention as Illinois judges listed below. Each received one or more negative ratings from one of the eleven bar groups that are members of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening or the Chicago Bar Association. Vote NO on:

205      Kathy M. Flanagan

217      Catherine Marie Haberkorn

219      James M. Varga

227      Maura Slattery Boyle

231      Matthew E. Coghlan

275      Andrea M. Schleifer

283      Lionel Jean-Baptiste

314      Lisa Ann Marino

Please vote YES on all the rest.

For a one-page summary to use and share, please click here.

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