New Democrats Making Waves on the DuPage Board

There are now Democrats on the DuPage County Board. This will take some getting-used-to.

DuPage County has been a Republican stronghold since the party was first formed. There are often one or two Democrats on the County Board, a consistent presence but never enough to steer policy. Thanks to a remarkable wave election last year and the county’s changing demographics, Democrats now hold seven of the board’s 18 positions after winning a majority of the seats on the November ballot. A repeat performance in 2020 would put Democrats in control of the board for the first time ever.

Now the board faces an unusual challenge – how to dole out committee assignments across party lines. Democrats on the board complain of being marginalized by the board’s Republican chairman, Dan Cronin. Despite holding almost half of the board’s seats, none of the Democrats were appointed to the powerful transportation committee and only one landed on a seat on public works.

Republicans have never been forced to share power in DuPage. There’s no precedent for the challenge unfolding on the County Board and elsewhere. There may not be time work it out. DuPage appears on the cusp of an historic party-switch, as Republicans lose their hold on affluent, educated suburban white voters and the county grows more diverse. Republicans may find they aren’t sharing power for long.

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