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URBANA — A veteran Champaign County prosecutor is the latest candidate to announce his desire to be a circuit judge.

Troy Lozar, 46, of Mahomet, will run as a Democrat in the March 2020 primary for the seat vacated in March by Michael Jones.

The position is a resident judgeship, meaning that the candidate has to run only in Champaign County, not all six counties of the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

Jason Bohm currently holds the seat, having been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court when Jones left. At the time of his appointment, he said he intended to run for that seat as a Republican.

In the wake of a Democratic sweep of county offices last fall, Bohm has switched gears and now intends to run for the circuit judgeship that Tom Difanis will retire from in December after 24 years on the bench.

He’s hoping that if Champaign County voters continue to lean Democratic, he can win enough Republican votes in the other five counties — DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt — to claim Difanis’ seat.

At the moment, Lozar will be running against Ramona Sullivan, an assistant public defender in Champaign County, and Ruth Wyman, a Champaign attorney in a private general practice.

Sullivan ran unsuccessfully against Republican Judge Roger Webber in November 2018 for the seat to which Webber was appointed in 2016, when Arnold Blockman retired. That seat was a circuit judgeship, so candidates had to run in all six counties.

Lozar has been employed in the Champaign County state’s attorney’s office since 2004. He is currently the chief of the criminal division, along with fellow veteran prosecutor Lindsey Clark.

Born in Urbana and raised in Champaign, Lozar attended University High School and the University of Illinois, where he graduated cum laude.

He got his law degree from the Law School at Northwestern Lewis and Clark in Portland, Ore. He attended on an academic scholarship, working in the school’s legal clinic helping low-income clients with court cases. He was admitted to the practice of law in 1997.

After an internship at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s training academy in Quantico, Va., Lozar began practicing law as a deputy county attorney in 1997 in Yuma, Ariz. He managed the juvenile division and prosecuted felony cases. He also worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Phoenix and Tucson, prosecuting human- and drug-trafficking cases.

Lozar and his wife, Amy, returned to Champaign County, where he had a private practice before being hired as an assistant state’s attorney. Having handled felonies for almost all his time in the Champaign County state’s attorney’s office, Lozar appears almost daily in court and understands the role of a judge.

“A judge’s demeanor, decisions and dedication have implications not just for the parties before him or her, but for the community at large. Our system depends on a fair and impartial judiciary to provide understanding, reason, and justice to everyone who comes before it. I’ve dedicated my professional career to public service, and I believe in doing the right thing,” he said.

“I’m running for circuit judge because I believe Champaign County needs someone who loves it and who is dedicated to what is best for it and the people who call it home. I want to bring the qualities of reason, fairness and practicality to this job that is so important, and can do so much to keep our community a place we are all proud of,” Lozar said.

Lozar and his wife have two children.

News-Gazette

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Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).