Illinois Supreme Court candidate Daniel Epstein to begin airing TV ad in hotly contested judicial race

The Supreme Court seat is a county-wide race, but Epstein’s ad will only air in the northern and western suburbs and North Side and West Side wards, for two weeks, two to three times a day.

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Illinois Supreme Court candidate Daniel Epstein will begin airing a television ad Wednesday.

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Lawyer Daniel Epstein is the first out of the gate with a TV ad set to begin airing Wednesday in the hotly contested race for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court, six months before the candidates face off in the March primary.

The 30-second TV spot is an effort to make sure people recognize the former Jenner & Block attorney as the candidate “who wants to fix the system and who has ideas to fix it” — and to build name recognition, he said.

“I think part of it is that it’s just time to kind of get our name out there,” Epstein said. “We’re doing a good job of telling a compelling story and this is part of it and we want to have supplementary materials when we go around to talk to people — we want that to be how people recognize us.”

The Supreme Court seat is a county-wide race, but Epstein’s ad will only air in the northern and western suburbs and North Side and West Side wards, for two weeks, two to three times a day. Epstein, who is from Evanston, is looking to solidify his base in those parts of the county and they’ve been the areas where he’s laid the most groundwork and where he expects to spend a lot of time, he said.

Spokesmen for Appellate Judges Nathaniel Howse and Jesse Reyes, as well as a spokeswoman for sitting Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville Jr. said their candidates are not planning on doing TV ads yet, though they are doing ads on other platforms, such as social media, to get the word out about their campaigns.

Epstein said the ad is to also “express a sense of urgency for change and repair — that’s not something we can do at the last minute, we need to build to it.”

That sense of urgency is in part related to the state’s use of “faulty DNA machines and pseudo-science to convict people,” Epstein says in the ad, referring to a 2016 case he was trying in the county.

While doing the research for that case, Epstein said he and a DNA analyst found that the state was using a faulty DNA machine — one that wasn’t calibrated properly, so it could result in false positives or negatives. He also says he found that forensic labs get extra funding for producing a result that ends in conviction and that courts get extra funding when they convict.

But Epstein never got a chance to to put that analyst on the stand, or to make sure changes were made — the defendant pled guilty, ending the case.

Epstein stressed the need for urgency.

“There needs to be systemic reform,” Epstein said. “We’re the ones proposing the ideas to fix it, and there’s no time to wait.”

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