2021 Election Preview

The municipal elections taking place tomorrow, April 6th, will reveal the results of numerous highly contested elections in DuPage County. In addition to the many city and school board positions on the ballot in odd year elections, voters will also be determining township positions, which are the only partisan positions on the ballot.

Democratic township organizations have fielded more candidates than usual this year for township positions, with the notable exception of missing an assessor candidate in each township. These positions are currently held almost entirely by Republicans- other than two term incumbent Wayne Twp Highway Commissioner Martin McManamon, two positions in Lisle Twp and six in Naperville Twp, where Democrats seemed to break through in 2017. Just about every township position is competitive this year. Biden won every township last year, but expect Republicans to continue outperforming Trump’s % in most places. Biden winning every precinct in Lisle and Naperville Twps does not bode well for Republicans, but they shouldn’t be counted out. Well, except in Naperville Twp, where 6 Republicans were disqualified as candidates for breaking rules that dictate party selection of township candidates. There has been quite a bit of negative campaigning on the part of a few township Republican organizations. Milton Democrats pushed back against an MTRO “eblast” which allegedly claimed that “the Democrats will not keep you safe.” A negative website created by a dark money group, “Protect York Township”, makes claims about Democratic candidates that echo the national GOP, such as “They want to defund the police and bail criminals out of jail. And even more far-fetched, “They are against capitalism”. 

The College of DuPage (COD) Board race is also very interesting. 8 candidates are running for 3 positions. Don Potoczny, Florence Appel, and Nick Howard are running as a slate supported by most Democratic organizations in the area as well as the faculty union. Heidi Holan, who was appointed to fill the position of current State Rep Deanne Mazzochi (R) on the board, is running with Andrew Manno, and both appear to have support from Republican organizations. 

Naperville city, park, and school board elections are highly competitive. The city council race has been a very eventful one, with 11 candidates for 4 open positions. A group called “NaperPac”, supported by Councilman Kevin Coyne, has been promoting a group of conservative leaning candidates- including a controversial “Opt Out” leader.

Several cities have mayoral elections, including Glendale Heights, where current Village President Linda Jackson was recently removed from the ballot. In Oakbrook Terrace, Rufo Noble is running again after losing 4 years ago to Tony Ragucci, who later resigned amid a red light camera scandal. Lisle sees 2 first term trustees challenging Chris Pecak, who beat former mayor Joe Broda in 2017. 

Municipal elections are typically low turnout. I expect higher turnout tomorrow than in the less eventful 2019 elections, but totals will fall far below the presidential election. The best way to make your voice heard is to vote- and every vote really does make an impact in these local elections.

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