Supreme Court Justice Kilbride struggling to keep his seat, while Cook County Judge Toomin appears to hold on

Cook County Judge Michael Toomin and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride each faced aggressive efforts to get them bounced from the bench. Late Tuesday it appeared that Toomin will stay and Kilbride will go.

SHARE Supreme Court Justice Kilbride struggling to keep his seat, while Cook County Judge Toomin appears to hold on
Cook County Judge Michael Toomin was facing strong opposition from the Cook County Democratic Party in his attempt to remain on the bench.

Cook County Judge Michael Toomin was facing strong opposition from the Cook County Democratic Party in his attempt to remain on the bench.

Sun-Times Media

In judicial retention elections, judges get to keep their robes if 60% or more of the voters say so — and that’s proved a remarkably easy threshold to hit, with few judges ever getting booted.

Which makes Tuesday’s election all the more remarkable, with Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride apparently failing to hit that mark, meaning he could soon be gone from a post he’s held for 20 years.

With more than 96% of precincts reporting, Kilbride fielded just over 55% favorable votes, according to unofficial tallies that may not include all mail-in ballots.

No justice facing retention has ever lost. If Kilbride has indeed failed to keep his seat, the court will choose a “placeholder” justice until an election in 2022.

“Though votes continue to be counted, I am disappointed in the apparent outcome,” Kilbride said in a statement late Tuesday.

But another veteran jurist, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin, appears to be holding on to his job in another closely watched retention race.

With more than 95% of precincts reporting, Toomin had 62% “yes” votes, according to unofficial totals.

Live 2020 election results

2020 Election Live Results

For complete results in the 2020 U.S. election, including Illinois races like Cook County state’s attorney, the graduated income tax amendment, and the state legislature, head to the Sun-Times election tracker.