Kane County associate judge and former prosecutor Elizabeth Flood says she is running for the circuit judge's seat that will be vacated by David Akemann.

The announcement sets up a potential GOP primary contest with Kane County Circuit Court Clerk Thomas Hartwell, who also is seeking the seat.

Flood said Wednesday she is collecting signatures for nominating petitions later this month for the circuit judge seat, which Akemann announced he will step down from effective Dec. 3, 2018.

If she and Hartwell and others file, a primary election will be held March 20, 2018, to decide who will be on the ballot for the Nov. 6 general election.

"You want a candidate who has judicial and courtroom experience in the (circuit judge) position," said Flood, who was appointed as an associate judge in Kane County in January 2013. "I try to be the type of judge I would want to appear in front of as an attorney."

In her nearly five years as judge, Flood has presided over a variety of cases, ranging from traffic and misdemeanors to juvenile cases and felonies. She also filled in for judges who were sick or on vacation and handled divorce cases and bond call.

Before her appointment to the bench, Flood served 17 years as a Kane County assistant state's attorney, prosecuting a wide range of criminal cases for seven years before moving to the office's civil division.

"This type of position requires long-term, substantive courtroom experience," she said, noting her election would bring to two the number of circuit judge seats occupied by a woman in Kane County. "I am invested in Kane County. I have a lot of experience in the system."

Flood was raised in Elgin, graduated Larkin High School and earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lives in St. Charles with her husband and two children.

Hartwell threw his name into the contest this week when he stepped down as the chairman of the Kane County Republican Party.

He was elected Kane County circuit court clerk in 2012 and for a second 4-year term in 2016. Hartwell, who served on the Kane County Board from 1996 to 2012, said he wanted to improve communication and efficiency at the clerk's office.