Kane court clerk Hartwell running to become a judge
Kane County Circuit Court Clerk Thomas Hartwell is running to become a judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit Court District.
As such, he has resigned as county Republican Party chairman.
Hartwell said he is running for a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David R. Akemann, who is an at-large judge assigned to the civil division. Akemann submitted a letter of resignation last week, Hartwell said.
Hartwell said judicial rules prohibit a judicial candidate from holding a political party office. That means he can no longer be a precinct committeeman, either.
Hartwell has been a committeeman in Elgin Township Precinct 24. His brother, Theodore Hartwell, is running for that spot, as is David Thibodeaux, according to election records.
Hartwell was elected circuit court clerk in 2012 and re-elected in 2016.
The party was scheduled to meet Tuesday night to discuss the chairmanship.
Akemann, 66, of Elgin, said he discussed stepping down with his family during Thanksgiving break and wanted to provide enough notice so people interested in his circuit seat could run for election next year.
"I felt quite strongly I wanted to give everyone interested an opportunity to run and let the people decide (the next judge)," Akemann said. "It's time to move on to something else. It's a privilege and an honor and will remain so to serve as a judge."
Akemann, who previously served as state's attorney, was elected in 2010 as a circuit judge and voters retained him in 2016.
Akemann's last day as a judge is Dec. 2, 2018, which will allow voters to elect a new circuit judge in November 2018 to be sworn in Dec. 3, 2018. That means the circuit would have a seamless transition and not at any point be short a judge.
Akemann said he did his best to be independent as a judge, to listen and apply the law.
Judge John Dalton lost to Akemann in 2010 before winning a judge seat in 2012.
Dalton said Tuesday that Akemann became a friend and mentor while they served together. Akemann's retirement will be a loss to the county and community, he said.
"I was really amazed as I got to know him what a wonderful person he was, what intelligence and integrity he displayed," Dalton recalled. "He was very supportive and we grew to be great friends."