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updated: 11/2/2010 10:50 PM

Lake County circuit adds Democrat to judge ranks

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Republicans won two out of three open circuit judge seats in Lake County on Tuesday, as Democrat Mark Levitt of Deerfield became only the second member of his party to be elected to serve among the judges in the 19th Judicial Circuit.

Levitt won in the 4th Judicial Subcircuit, narrowly defeating Republican Wallace Dunn by 660 votes.

With all 102 precincts reporting, Levitt had 51 percent, or 21,545 votes, to Dunn's 49 percent, or 20,885 votes.

Levitt, a Deerfield resident who is a member of the Deerfield Elementary District 109 board, joins Jay Ukena of Waukegan, who was elected in 2008 as the circuit's only Democratic judge.

Dunn, also of Deerfield, has been an associate judge in the county for 24 years and will retain that position.

Republican Diane Winter of Lake Barrington retained her office in the 5th Judicial Subcircuit Tuesday, defeating Democratic challenger Timothy Howe of Wauconda 22,232, or 65 percent, to 11,729, or 35 percent, with all 97 precincts tallied.

Winter, an associate judge for eight years before her appointment as a circuit judge in 2008, was a key player in the development of a help desk for people seeking guardianship for minors.

In the 6th Judicial Subcircuit, Jorge Ortiz of Antioch beat challenger Michael Perillo of Grayslake 21,431, or 59 percent, to 14,610, or 41 percent, with all 104 precincts reporting.

Ortiz, a Republican and the presiding judge of the family law division who was appointed a circuit judge in 2008, held off Perillo, a Grayslake Democrat making his first run for office, in a contest in which Perillo refused to accept any campaign donations.

Perillo advertised on two billboards in the subcircuit with the slogan "Judges shouldn't take money," which Ortiz called a slap at all the men and women on the bench.

Perillo defended the billboards, saying the phrase was simply an expression of his philosophy that judges should not be beholden to anyone because of donations.