College of DuPage board member Olsen could fill Sandack's seat

 
 
Updated 7/25/2016 3:59 PM
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  • David Olsen, 27, of Downers Grove is the front-runner to fill the 81st state House District vacancy created by the resignation of Ron Sandack, Republican leaders say.

      David Olsen, 27, of Downers Grove is the front-runner to fill the 81st state House District vacancy created by the resignation of Ron Sandack, Republican leaders say. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

David S. Olsen, a rising star in the DuPage County Republican Party, appears to be the leading candidate to replace 81st District state Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove, who has resigned his seat citing "cyber security issues."

Olsen, 27, of Downers Grove, already serves as vice chairman of the College of DuPage board of trustees, as a Downers Grove village commissioner and as vice chairman of the Downers Grove Township Republican Organization.

He has expressed interest in seeking the 81st House seat in the past and Downers Grove Township and DuPage County GOP leaders say he's the "front-runner" to fill the remainder of Sandack's term and likely be listed on the Nov. 8 ballot against Downers Grove Democrat Greg Hose.

"Right now it sounds like David Olsen is at the top of everyone's wish list," said Bob Grogan, Downers Grove Township Republican Organization chairman. "He's a well-liked young man."

Olsen, who works as an ethics and compliance analyst for BP Corp. North America Inc., did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Republican leaders say he likely will retain his College of DuPage seat but resign from the Downers Grove village council if he's chosen as Sandack's successor.

"He was looking at this (state) seat in the primary a year ago," said Brian Krajewski, DuPage County Republican chairman.

The 81st District includes all or parts of Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Naperville, Westmont and Woodridge in DuPage and Will counties.

"Clearly he's performed tremendously in his role as commissioner in Downers Grove, was elevated to mayor pro tem and was recently tapped to help clean up the mess at COD," Krajewski said.

Olsen was appointed to the College of DuPage board in February to replace former Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton, who resigned in December.

His selection -- which was supported by Gov. Bruce Rauner -- was significant because it broke a 3-3 tie among trustees that plagued the college and stalled business for months after Hamilton's unexpected departure.

COD board Chairwoman Deanne Mazzochi said she did not want to comment until a replacement for the 81st seat is officially named.

Krajewski said Olsen likely will remain on the college panel until the spring election to prevent another stalemate. Olsen already has said he does not intend to seek a full term on the COD board in the spring election.

"He helps bring people together," Krajewski said. "I know his intentions there were never to rerun in April anyway for that position."

Olsen -- or whoever is picked to run in Sandack's place in the Nov. 8 election -- will need time to devote to running a campaign, Krajewski and Grogan said.

That campaign would pit the chosen candidate against Hose, an attorney and Downers Grove village commissioner who is the Democrat seeking the 81st seat. With his opponent unknown, Hose said he'll keep his focus on the issues -- largely the state's unpaid bills, economic issues and rising property taxes.

"I think that's the best way to do it. This race doesn't need to be about personality," Hose said. "I'm just going to keep focusing on what's important to the people of the 81st District and making the world a little better for my children and everyone else's children."

Officials expect the decision on Sandack's replacement will be made relatively quickly. The Republican party has 30 days from Sandack's resignation effective Monday to fill his seat and officials have until Aug. 25 to fill the vacancy on the November ballot.

Krajewski said the candidate chosen by DuPage Republican leaders will get the seat and the ballot slot, but the Will County Republican Central Committee also will have a say because a small number of precincts in the 81st District are within Will County's borders.

Will County Republican Chairwoman Kathy Havel did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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