The outcome of a precinct committeeman race decided by a small group of Democratic voters in Villa Park may help set the stage for a bigger fight over the party's leadership in DuPage County.
State Sen. Tom Cullerton says he's considering whether to make a bid to become chairman of the countywide Democratic organization.
To qualify for the position, the Villa Park resident needed to become a precinct committeeman. That happened on Tuesday when Cullerton defeated Arthur P. Biladeau of Villa Park in York Township's 55th precinct.
DuPage County Election Commission officials on Wednesday hadn't released results of any precinct committeeman races, but they did confirm Cullerton won.
Despite becoming a precinct committeeman, Cullerton said there's another obstacle preventing him from challenging DuPage Democratic Party Chairman Robert Peickert during next month's local Democratic convention.
"As it stands now, I am not eligible to be in that position," said Cullerton, referring to an amendment of the DuPage County Democratic Central Committee's bylaws that was approved in November.
The amendment requires elected officers of the organization to have served as a Democratic precinct committeeman for at least two of the last three terms.
Before the amendment, there were no time requirements and officers merely had to be precinct committeemen.
A lawsuit claiming the organization violated state law by amending its bylaws was filed last month.
The DuPage judge assigned to hear the case is expected to make a decision on April 14 -- two days before the convention. If the amendment is deemed illegal, anyone who is a Democratic precinct committeeman could challenge Peickert for the leadership role.
That's why Cullerton says he won't rule out the possibility of running for party chairman. "I am still considering it and weighing options," he said.
Peickert is planning to seek his fourth 2-year term as party chairman. He said he's not worried.
"I am running on the work that I did over the past six to 10 years in DuPage," Peickert said. "If the precinct committeemen feel that was a good job, then I should get elected. If they don't, then somebody else will (get elected)."