Suburbs' congressional representatives all Democrats

Once the fourth-highest ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, Peter Roskam soon will be out of a job.

Along with his former Wheaton neighbor and fellow Republican congressman Randy Hultgren, now of Plano, Roskam is a casualty of Tuesday's Democratic takeover of the U.S. House.

Six-term congressman Roskam, the architect of the Republican tax plan last year, was bested by Sean Casten of Downers Grove, and Hultgren was defeated by Naperville's Lauren Underwood.

Those results mean the entire congressional delegation is Democratic in an area that not so long ago was represented by legendary conservatives like Henry Hyde and Phil Crane.

After a campaign criticizing Roskam for not hosting in-person town halls, Casten said he has committed to have at least four of the meetings a year.

"For me, the massive reward is that you get to talk to anybody about anything," Casten said. "The true blessing of this job is that you're expected to be an expert in things that no possible human being could be an expert in. And so going out and meeting with people in all the diversity that they exist is the perk of the job; it's not a penalty."

Republican leaders say Tuesday was not a trend, but an anomaly.

"The party nationally has had huge success in the past decade," former state GOP chairman Pat Brady said. "It was a bad night. But if you look at the arc of where the party has gone, it's been a pretty good run."

As for the suburbs turning blue, GOP officials argue they still have the upper hand.

"To declare a new color, I think you need to have more than one election," said Bob Grogan, chairman of the Downers Grove Township Republican Organization. "There's about 130 partisan people elected in DuPage. Maybe 20 of them Democrats. So they've got a long way to go."

The election for many of those seats is just a few month away, on April 2, 2019.

• Daily Herald staff writers Justin Kmitch, Russell Lissau, Lauren Rohr, Susan Sarkauskas, Marie Wilson and Mick Zawislak contributed to this story.

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