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posted: 3/18/2012 1:00 AM

DuPage County's key primary races

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  • Kirk Dillard

    Kirk Dillard

  • Chris Nybo

    Chris Nybo

  • Randy Ramey

    Randy Ramey

  • Carole Pankau

    Carole Pankau


On Tuesday, Republican and Democratic candidates seeking county, state and Congressional seats will earn their party's nomination and move on to the November election.

It also will be the day that at least two Republican state lawmakers from DuPage County find out that they're losing their jobs.

That drama is the reason the GOP primary races in the redrawn 23rd and 24th Senate districts are considered the two hottest contests in DuPage.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale has had to fend off accusations of being a career politician from state Rep. Chris Nybo of Elmhurst, Dillard's opponent in the 24th Senate District race.

Nybo, who is pushing for term limits, said it's "just wrong" that Dillard has been in office so long. "You shouldn't have to serve since 1993 to get people to listen to you down there (in Springfield)," Nybo said.

But Dillard says his unique background in state government gives him the qualifications to be a "suburban voice" in the General Assembly.

"This state has serious troubles," Dillard said. "It takes somebody with my experience and my knowledge to stand up and to stop (Gov.) Pat Quinn from borrowing."

The winner will face Democrat A. Ghani of Oak Brook in the general election to decide who will represent the 24th District, which includes all or parts of Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park, Westmont, Wheaton and Willowbrook.

GOP leaders said they were expecting sitting Republican lawmakers to be pitted against each other ever since Democrats started working on the legislative map, which had to be redrawn because of the new census numbers.

The Democrats' approach to creating districts, Republicans say, is the reason state Sen. Carole Pankau of Itasca is facing state Rep. Randy Ramey of Carol Stream in the GOP primary.

Pankau and Ramey both live in the new 23rd Senate District, which includes all or parts of Addison, Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Hanover Park, Itasca, Lombard, Oakbrook Terrace, Roselle, Villa Park, Wayne, West Chicago and Wood Dale.

The resulting campaign has been contentious, with Ramey claiming that Pankau has been ineffective as a state lawmaker, while Pankau ran television ads about Ramey's DUI conviction last year.

Whoever gets the Republican nomination must face the winner of Tuesday's three-person Democratic primary. The Democrats hoping to represent the district are attorney Greg Brownfield of Bartlett, Addison marketing executive Kevin Allen and Villa Park Village President Tom Cullerton.

Other significant races in DuPage include:

42nd House District:

The new 42nd House District seat is wide open after the remapping process drew five-term incumbent Republican Sandy Pihos of Glen Ellyn out of the district.

So while Pihos is running unopposed in the 48th House District, four GOP hopefuls are seeking to represent the 42nd District, which includes parts of Carol Stream, Lisle, Naperville, Warrenville, West Chicago, Wheaton and Winfield.

The Republican candidates are Dave Carlin of Naperville, Chris Hage of Wheaton, Laura Pollastrini of Carol Stream and Wheaton City Council member Jeanne Ives. The winner will face Democrat William Adams of Wheaton.

46th House District:

In a contest where both candidates say they agree on most issues, the Republican primary in the redrawn 46th House District could come down experience and qualifications.

First-time candidate John "Chip" Humes is facing Dan Kordik, a Villa Park attorney who has been the York Township clerk since 2005, in the race to determine the GOP nominee for the 46th District, which includes portions of Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Oakbrook Terrace and Villa Park.

Humes, a 29-year-old funeral director from Addison, said he believes voters will look to his experience in the private sector. But Kordik, 52, says he has more experience as an elected official. He was a member of the Villa Park Elementary District 45 board from 1988 to 1995.

The GOP nominee will face Democrat Deborah O'Keefe Conroy of Elmhurst.

84th State House District:

Aurora Alderman Stephanie Kifowit is trying to move up the political ladder by running for a seat in the new 84th House District.

But before she can face Republican Patricia Fee in the general election, Kifowit on Tuesday must defeat Aurora attorney Carole Cheney and Alex Arroyo, former chairman of the Aurora Democratic Party organization.

One key difference between the three Democratic candidates is that Kifowit says she wouldn't vote to extend the state's 5 percent personal income tax beyond 2015. At that time, the rate is set to drop to 4 percent. While Kifowit stressed the higher rate should expire "because that was a promise made to the public," her opponents said it's too soon to take a stance on the issue.

The 84th District takes in parts of Aurora, Naperville, Montgomery and Oswego.

DuPage County Board District 6:

Voters in DuPage County Board District 6 this year are getting something rare: A Democratic primary.

Incumbent Dirk Enger of Winfield is one of four candidates seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to three District 6 seats on the county board. His opponents are Lauren "Laurie" Nowak of Bartlett, Terrell Barnes of Roselle and Dave Barry of Bartlett.

On the Republican side, incumbents Jim Zay and Robert Larsen are facing newcomers Kevin Wiley of West Chicago, Tom Sutton of Wayne and David Sabathne of West Chicago.

District 6 includes all or parts of Aurora, Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Hanover Park, Naperville, Roselle, St. Charles, Warrenville, Wayne, West Chicago, Wheaton and Winfield.

Ballot questions:

From a park district construction project to an idea that might lower electricity bills, DuPage primary voters will be asked to weigh in on 22 ballot questions.

Most of the questions will ask voters if they want shared electric service from a vendor other than ComEd as part of a package deal through their village or city. Municipal officials say that seeking service from suppliers other than ComEd could save money for their residents.

Other ballot questions include whether Itasca should become a home rule unit, whether the West Chicago Park District should borrow $19.5 million for a new community center, and if Winfield should be divided into six voting districts.

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