DuPage board member O’Shea wants countywide post

The longest-serving member of the DuPage County Board says he won’t seek re-election next year so he can run for a countywide office.

Pat O’Shea is considering whether he’s going to run for DuPage County State’s Attorney or for a judge post during the Republican primary in March.

“Right now, I am looking more and more toward judge,” said O’Shea, a 60-year-old lawyer from Lombard who has been on the county board since 1990.

If he runs for state’s attorney, O’Shea would have to face incumbent Robert Berlin, who plans to seek a full term in the 2012 election. County board Chairman Dan Cronin in December appointed Berlin to replace Joe Birkett, who stepped down to become an appellate judge. O’Shea was one of seven candidates who sought the appointment to replace Birkett.

O’Shea announced his intentions Sunday night in a email to county board members. In the letter, he resigned his position as vice chairman of the board.

“I feel the people need somebody there all the time,” O’Shea said of why he’s stepping down as vice chairman. “Issues come up, and the vice chairman has to take care of them. I think the voters are better served by having someone there who won’t be distracted.”

O’Shea said he still will attend county board meetings until his term ends in November 2012. But he also wants to have the time to devote to his campaign for the other office.

When asked why he wants to seek a countywide post, O’Shea says he’s served “long enough” on the county board.

“My thought process has changed,” he said. “I just thought 20 years is enough. Let’s make room and let somebody else get on there.”

O’Shea has butted heads with fellow board members in recent months. Earlier this month, he tried — but failed — to stop the adoption of a new district map that carves out a section of Lombard from District 2. O’Shea, who represents the district, claimed boundary line was politically motivated.

Meanwhile, a proposed rules change on Tuesday’s county board agenda could have required O’Shea to try to win board support to keep his position as vice chairman of the board.

That, too, did not motivate O’Shea to step down as vice chairman.

“I ran countywide before,” said O’Shea, who unsuccessfully ran for county board chairman in 1998. “I know what it takes. If I am going to run for judge or state’s attorney, I don’t want to be in the fray with everybody (on the board). Because when you are in leadership, you are always there.”