Democrats gain ground in once solidly red DuPage County

Democrats hoping to make historic gains across once reliably Republican DuPage County hold solid leads or remain within striking distance of defeating GOP opponents for county board, forest preserve and countywide seats.

Democratic candidates were either pulling ahead or locked in tight races for four of six available seats on the 18-member county board based on partial election results.

Democrats need to flip three seats to seize control of the board. In more than 180 years of county government, Democrats have won the board majority only once, in 1934, local party leaders say.

If Democrats pick up all three open seats on the forest preserve district board, they'll shift the balance of power with a Democratic president breaking the tie.

Some candidates were gaining ground after a new batch of votes came in shortly after 1 a.m. and again Wednesday evening. County election officials updated results after tallying another 19,450 mail-in ballots. So far, election authorities have counted 164,622 out of 171,696 vote-by-mail ballots received.

Earlier Wednesday, state election officials reported up to 42,074 outstanding mail-in ballots in DuPage.

That method of voting has been more popular among voters who pulled a Democratic ballot in the primary than those who cast GOP ballots. As of last week, 60,083 Democrats returned mail-in ballots compared to 24,672 Republicans.

Opposition to President Donald Trump hurt GOP candidates at the bottom of the ticket, county Republican Party Chairman Jim Zay said. In DuPage, former Vice President Joe Biden had 57% of the vote versus nearly 41% for Trump.

"I think it had an effect on the Republican name even though we have very good people running for office and dedicated public servants," Zay said.

DuPage Democrats are confident their candidates can capture four county board seats, party Chairwoman Cynthia Borbas said.

"Three have leads, and I expect their gains to only grow," she said.

Here's a look at where county races stand:


Democratic challenger Candice Adams has expanded her lead over four-term GOP incumbent Chris Kachiroubas in the clerk of the circuit court race. Unofficial results showed Adams with 226,642 votes and Kachiroubas with 222,400.

In the county auditor race, 1,324 votes separate Republican incumbent Bob Grogan from Democratic challenger Bill White. Grogan has received 225,717 votes to White's 224,393.

In the coroner race, Republican incumbent Richard Jorgensen was leading Democratic challenger Gregory Whalen. Unofficial tallies have Jorgensen with 227,476 votes and Whalen with 218,803.

Democrat Kathleen Carrier is cruising to victory with 19,145 more votes than Republican Babette Holder Youngberg in the recorder race.

County board

Republican Donald Puchalski was headed toward reelection in District 1. The attorney has garnered 35,628 votes, while Democratic challenger Zahra Suratwala has 30,546.

In District 2, Democrat Paula Deacon Garcia has seen her lead widen over Republican incumbent Sean Noonan by 2,057 votes.

In District 3, Republican incumbent Brian Krajewski leads with 40,855 votes to 38,355 ballots cast for Democratic challenger Gail Cabala-Lowry.

The closest contest is in District 4, where a 165-vote margin separates Democratic challenger Lynn LaPlante from first-term Republican Tim Elliott. LaPlante now has 37,304 votes to Elliott's 37,139.

In District 5, victory is at hand for Democrat Amy Chavez, who netted 43,080 votes. Her Republican opponent, Kevin Coyne, a Naperville City Council member, has 33,243 votes.

With her win, Democrats would hold all three county board seats in a district encompassing parts of Aurora, Lisle, Naperville, Warrenville and Woodridge.

In the race for a District 6 seat, Democrat Greg Schwarze, a Carol Stream village trustee and firefighter, is leading with 35,869 votes, while Republican incumbent Bob Larsen has 34,993 votes.

Forest preserve

In a race with no incumbent, Democrat Tina Tyson-Dunne holds a commanding lead over Republican Karen Kelly for the District 2 seat. Tyson-Dunne has 43,025 votes, while Kelly has 38,695, according to unofficial results.

In District 4, Democrat Jeff Gahris has a 510-vote advantage over GOP incumbent Tim Whelan.

In District 5, Democrat Barbara O'Meara remained the apparent victor over Republican incumbent Mary Lou Wehrli. O'Meara has 41,649 votes to Wehrli's 34,569.

DuPage County circuit clerk candidates Candice Adams and Chris Kachiroubas
DuPage County auditor candidates Bob Grogan, left, and William "Bill" White
DuPage County Board District 1 candidates Donald Puchalski and Zahra Suratwala
DuPage County Board District 2 candidates Paula Deacon Garcia and Sean Noonan
DuPage County Board District 3 candidates Gail Cabala-Lowry and Brian Krajewski
DuPage County Board District 4 candidates Tim Elliott and Lynn LaPlante
DuPage County Board District 6 candidates Robert Larsen, left, and Greg Schwarze
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