Friedel Seeking Shelby County Judge's Seat


Published on July 6 2012 4:32 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Fayette County State's Attorney Stephen Friedel is seeking election as Shelby County Resident Circuit Judge.

It's taken some work to get the job done, though.

Friedel had indicated around the time of the March primary that he would not seek re-election as state's attorney after three terms.  In the meantime, the Democrat nominee for resident circuit judge in Shelby County, Liz Nohren, withdrew from the race following the death of her father, E.C. Eberspacher.  That left Republican Allen Bennett as the sole candidate in the race for the judge's seat being vacated by Michael Kiley, who is retiring.

Friedel said he was approached by Shelby County Democrats to run as their nominee, but state election law prohibits a party from replacing a judicial candidate if the candidate withdraws or dies.  That led Friedel to explore running as an Independent with the blessing of the Democrats.  However, Governor Quinn signed a law shortly after the primary prohibiting a person who voted in a primary from running as an Independent.

The remaining option was to run as a third party candiate, and that's what Friedel is doing, running as a candidate of the Better Option Party.  He's the sole candidate of the party, and he can do that since there is no other judicial race in the 4th Circuit this year.  If there were other judicial races, Friedel would've had to secure other candidates to run on the Better Option Party for those offices.

Friedel Friday said he still has the backing of Shelby County Democrats, even though he's running as a third party candidate. He's a known quantity in Shelby County, having served there as an assistant State's Attorney before winning election in Fayette County. 

Friedel is a Granite City native and graduated from Eastern Illinois University before completing law school at SIU in Carbondale.  He briefly worked as a Coles County Assistant State's Attorney before getting the job in Shelby County.

The 41-year-old Friedel said he thinks it's the right thing for Shelby County voters to have a choice for judge between him and the 68-year-old Bennett.