Labor-backed judge candidates ride write-ins onto the ballot


Illinois Correspondent

Edwardsville, IL – Three union-backed candidates for circuit judge were overwhelmingly supported in the June 28 primary election by Madison County voters, even though two of the candidates had been thrown off the ballot by the Republican-controlled election board.

Associate Judge Ryan Jumper and candidates Ebony Huddleston and John Barry Julian all succeeded in their primary bids on Tuesday. Julian received 790 valid write-in votes and Huddleston had 776 write-ins. Each needed 334 votes to be confirmed onto the ballot in November. Jumper, whose name did appear on the ballot, received 3,846 votes.

Those vote totals included only the votes cast on Election Day. When adding votes sent in mail-in and early voting, the totals were 1,437 for Huddleston and 1,512 for Julian. All vote totals are unofficial until certified by the state.

“We feel very good about the effort to get the judges on the ballot,” said Randy Harris, chairman of the Madison County Democratic Party. “While it was not the way we had hoped to get them on, it goes to show that voters are hungry for real choices and electing judges who live and work in their neighborhoods.” He is also Midwest Region director of the Laborers’ Labor-Management Fund.

Huddleston and Julian were removed from the ballot in April by the Republican-controlled election board over questioning of the dates on which their petition signatures were gathered. This forced them to run as write-in candidates, and each was required to get at least as many votes as would have been required on the petitions they circulated: 334 each.

That meant the voters had to write in their names, including remembering to write “John Barry Julian,” as only votes with all three of his names were to be counted.

Huddleston now faces Republican incumbent Amy Sholar in the general election. Julian faces Republican incumbent Christopher Threlkeld. Jumper faces Republican attorney Tim Berkley.

Huddleston was valedictorian at Alton High School before attending Xavier University in Louisiana and Ohio Northern University Petit College of Law. After clerking for a federal judge, she came back to Madison County and now operates her own law firm in Alton and Godfrey while teaching at Lewis & Clark Community College.

Julian attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Washington University School of Dental Medicine, working as a dentist for many years before changing careers. He graduated from St. Louis University School of Law and in 2008, along with the late Randy Gori, founded the Gori Julian Law Firm, which became a national leader in personal injury and asbestos injury compensation, recovering more than $6 billion, and now, as the Gori Law Firm, has six offices nationally.

Jumper has served as associate judge since 2018. A 1996 graduate of Edwardsville High School, he attended Illinois Wesleyan University and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

All three have ties to Labor. Huddleston is the daughter of a coal miner and a schoolteacher. Julian’s firm focused on asbestos litigation, catastrophic injury and occupational disease injuries, winning many victories for injured workers. Jumper is the son of a 50-year lineman and a nurse, and his brother Dustin is a Glen Carbon police commissioner and financial consultant. 

Randy Harris calls this the best slate of judicial candidates the party has had, and he called on Labor leaders and union members to continue to support them throughout the election.

“We know this is going to be a challenging election season, but we’re also ready and willing to demonstrate to the voters that we have real and distinct choices,” Harris said. “The Democratic candidates and officials are fully ready to run against the radical extremism from the right wing of the Republican Party.

“These anti-worker, anti-freedom and anti-community extremists running on the Republican platform are dangerous to our county and our rights, both on the job and off. We look forward to having this debate.”



  1. I have known Ms. Huddleston for more than ten years. She is honest, kind, sincere, and professional. Our community greatly needs someone like her. She will serve the people well in this position. I honestly can’t say enough good things about her. She volunteered her time to help someone in need like me. I will never forget her kindness. She is the real deal (a judge that will care about her serious decisions, make fair decisions, and be honest and professional). I can’t recommend her enough. Please vote for her because I am tired of all the corruption in the courts, and Ebony will bring a freshness of high character qualities to the position of a judge.

  2. I have been disgusted with the corruption in the courts that I have witnessed. The community needs a judge like Ebony to bring back a respect to this position (in my eyes since I have lost all respect for our local courts). After knowing her for over ten years, I can personally attest to her kindness, sincereness, and professionalism. It would be an honor, as part of this community, to have her as a judge. I highly recommend Mr. Huddleston in the position as a judge. Honestly, we NEED a judge like her!!!


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