Some races too close to call in DuPage; county board goes Democratic for first time since mid 1930’s

Some races are still too close to call in DuPage County, so I will release a more thorough review of the results once those races are called. Results can be found here.

But what I will say is that the DuPage Democrats had a solid year- especially when compared to underwhelming down ballot performances for Democratic candidates nationwide.

Biden won the county by a 58%-40% margin, up from Hillary Clinton’s 53%-39% margin in 2016. Biden’s percentage and vote total are the largest received by any county in DuPage County history, and a big shift for a historically Republican county.

It is clear that Democrats flipped the County Board from the current 11R-7D majority, but the final margin is unclear. Only one victory was decisively blue. District 5, as I noted in this post, is the most Democratic out of the six county board districts in DuPage. In the 2016 election, Trump only won 3/164 precincts in District 5. Biden got a full sweep. Naperville City Councilman Kevin Coyne, the Republican nominee, retained some strength in parts of his home town, and over performed his party’s nominee (a recent fact of down ballot races in DuPage County). Amy Chavez (D) won by 13%.

Democrats lead narrowly in 3 other county board races, and it’s likely those leads will hold. Remaining ballots are likely to lean Democratic, if the phenomena we saw in 2018 reoccurs.

Republican Sean Noonan of District 2 conceded to Democrat Paula Deacon Garcia of Lisle, who is currently ahead by over 2000 votes (about 2%) in a district proven to be highly competitive. Liz Chaplin won re-election in 2016 by 50 votes. South Elmhurst went for Noonan, but it was pretty close (reminder- yard signs don’t win elections). Garcia did very well in Lisle and Downers Grove, while Noonan got his largest margins in geographically large precincts in Oak Brook.

In District 6, Carol Stream Trustee Greg Schwarze (D) is ahead of incumbent Bob Larsen (R) by about 1000 votes. Larsen hasn’t exactly conceded yet, but in a statement on his campaign Facebook page, he said that “it looks like I might come up a few votes short” and proceeded to thank supporters and family.

District 4 is too close to call but likely to be won by Lynn LaPlante (D), who narrowly lost to Chairman Cronin in 2018. The incumbent, Tim Elliott (R) and LaPlante are both from Glen Ellyn. District 4 historically votes more Republican than the county as a whole, so this race is a bit of a surprise. LaPlante did well in Glendale Heights and the portion of Lombard as well as some parts of Glen Ellyn; Elliott’s biggest leads were in Wheaton.

Incumbent Don Puchalski (R) leads by a 7% margin in District 1, where he faced Zahra Suratwala (D), who also ran in 2018. Puchalski has a war chest of about $112,000 according to Illinois Sunshine- a huge amount for a county board race.

Incumbent Brian Krajewski (R) is ahead by a narrower 3% margin in District 3, where he faced Democrat Gail Cabala-Lowry. District 3 is another district that would normally be expected to be more Republican than the county as a whole. District 3 has most of Downers Grove Township, which usually turns out to have a Republican edge in down ballot races. The smaller Lisle Township portion of District 3 went for Cabala-Lowry by 16%- not enough to overtake the Republican advantage in much of Burr Ridge, Hinsdale, Darien, Clarendon Hills, and Willowbrook.

A common theme in all of these races is that the Democrats are winning vote by mail ballots by a large margin, and the same is true of Republicans with Election Day voting. In person early voting was close, and “post vote by mail” ballots are leaning Democratic down the ticket.

The countywide races were very close- mostly Republican incumbents, and all Republican held seats. Candice Adams (D) appears to have defeated incumbent Chris Kachiroubas (R), the incumbent circuit court clerk, who is currently behind by about 1%.

Kathleen Carrier (D) won the seat of retiring Recorder of Deeds Fred Bucholz (R), currently leading by over 4% against Babette Holder Youngberg (R). Carrier won twice for the District 42 state house seat- she lost to Jeanne Ives in 2016 and improved in 2018 against Amy Grant. Republican candidate Holder Youngberg had legal issues making the ballot this year due to an error in filling out petitions.

The Coroner’s seat stays Republican; Greg Whalen (D), who narrowly lost the Sheriff’s race to James Mendrick in 2018, is behind by 2% against incumbent Coroner Richard Jorgensen (R).

The Auditor’s race is incredibly close. Incumbent Bob Grogan (R) and Bill White (D), both of Downer’s Grove are neck and neck, with Grogan ahead by about 700 votes (0.14%). This race is too close to call due to Democratic leaning mail in ballots yet to be counted. (Interesting factoid- In the Daily Herald debate/endorsement interview between Grogan and White, Grogan mentioned that he had voted for White’s successful village commissioner campaign in 2015).

The judicial races were not as lucky for Democrats. Out of four vacancies, three were held by Republican candidates with below 51% of the vote. One Democrat, Margaret “Peggy” O’Connell, won with about 53% for the Bakalis vacancy.

The three Forest Preserve Races (two incumbents and one open seat, all Republican held) are currently going to Democratic candidates. District 4 is the closest (and most historically red) of the seats on the ballot. If the sweep holds, Forest Preserve Chairman Dan Hebreard (D) will have a tied 3-3 board to work with.

I will get more into the state legislative results in a few days, when I will also address updated ballot numbers and uncalled races.

—Nick Mastro

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