Just as Democrats are making headway among the ranks of elected posts long held by Republicans in DuPage County, the state party might take one away.
DuPage County Board member Dirk Enger is one of 17 finalists to be Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate and Democratic Party lieutenant governor candidate on the November ballot. He was one of three Democrats elected to the county board in 2008 when all 18 seats were then occupied by Republicans.
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The Winfield resident and 16 other potential lieutenant governor candidates were culled from a list of more than 200 this past weekend. State party leaders will choose from the 17 finalists during a weighted vote Saturday.
Enger is a Marine who remains active in veterans issues. Quinn used the lieutenant governor's office to advance legislation assisting military personnel and their families before his ascension to the governor's office after Rod Blagojevich was impeached.
In his nominating papers, Enger explained his affiliation with the Democratic Party stems from his union background.
"This is a party that has continuously shown it looks out for the working class of this country," he wrote. "We are the party made up of the melting pot of America: the rich, the poor, the homeless and the forgotten."
If Enger is chosen and Quinn wins the governor's race, Enger would have to give up his seat on the county board. The county board chairman would fill the vacancy that runs through 2012. Whoever wins the upcoming chairman's race between Republican Dan Cronin and Democrat Carole Cheney would make the appointment. There has never been a Democratic county board chairman in DuPage.
Enger is considered a longshot by party insiders who point to state Sen. Susan Garrett of Lake Forest as the front-runner.