On Tuesday, August 25th, Democratic Precinct Committeemen in District 4 met in a virtual meeting to select a new candidate for county board. Hadiya Afzal, the winner of the March primary, withdrew from the race in late July after sending a Tweet seen by some to be promoting violence towards police officers. Afzal’s Tweet quickly went viral in right-wing political circles. Afzal dropped out of the race soon afterwards, partially due to fears that her controversy could hurt other Democratic candidates.
Kevin Coyne, a Republican running for District 5, immediately sought to tie his opponent to Afzal, posting that the DuPage Democrats as a whole have become “so extreme, so anti-police, so anti-law and order, that they are circulating this video of an officer being hit in the face by a projectile as being comedy.” This echoes a very common strategy from Republican candidates this year- a focus on “law and order” and attempting to tie Democratic candidates to rioting that has occurred in Kenosha and Chicago.
Afzal waited nearly a month before filing paperwork to withdraw- causing local Democrats quite a headache amid uncertainty that she may stay on the ballot despite suspending her campaign in late July.
Afzal ended up filing, and according to the York Township Democrats Facebook page, PC’s chose from 3 candidates on Tuesday night to replace her on the ballot. Charles Ditchman and Khizar Jafri were both previously candidates for District 4, in 2012 and 2016, respectively. The third candidate, Lynn LaPlante of Glen Ellyn, won the nomination. LaPlante came in a very narrow 2nd to Afzal in the March primary, making her a logical choice, and she has ran a big campaign before. LaPlante lost to Board Chairman Dan Cronin by a 1% margin in 2018, a big swing from his landslide 30% margin in 2014.
2020 will be an incredibly interesting election in DuPage. Almost every position on the ballot is very competitive, including several countywide positions, 6 County Board seats, and 3 Forest Preserve Board seats- all currently held by Republicans. The County Board currently stands at 11R-7D, and all 6 seats up for election are vulnerable. In a future article, I will take a look at some key factors in these races.