Now that he's secured another term as chairman of the DuPage Democratic Party, Robert Peickert has set his sights on a countywide elected office.
The Elmhurst resident is hoping to challenge DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin this fall during the general election.
In a letter sent this week, Peickert asked Democratic precinct committeemen to help him gather the 2,000 signatures he needs to be placed on the November ballot. He said he has until June 2 to submit the signatures, which must come from registered voters who last took a Democratic ballot.
Peickert, who last month won his fourth 2-year term as party chairman, said his political campaign would focus on a variety of issues facing DuPage.
"I look forward to a very friendly debate with Chairman Cronin on those issues," Peickert said on Friday.
Party leaders say they asked Peickert to seek the county board chairman position because they didn't want Cronin to run unopposed.
"We don't want any Republicans to run unopposed," said Rose Fitzpatrick, first vice chairman of DuPage's Democratic organization. "If we can find someone who is willing to stand up and be counted, that is best for all the voters out there. They (voters) should have a choice."
Cronin, who is seeking a second term as county board chairman, faced no opponents in the Republican primary. He has said he wants another term to continue efforts to reform and consolidate local government.
Even though no one ran for the seat in the Democratic primary, party leaders still are able to select a candidate as long as that person can gather enough signatures to get on the ballot by the June 2 deadline.
Peickert said in his April 28 letter to the precinct committeemen that he won't accept money from the countywide political organization for his campaign.
"I intend to raise funds on my own and hope you will support this effort," he wrote.
Fitzpatrick said she's pleased Peickert "stepped up" and agreed to challenge Cronin. "I think Bob would definitely bring a new perspective" to the county board, she said.