Once again, an all-GOP DuPage County Board
It had all the makings of a nightmare for down-ballot Republicans in DuPage County.
Most DuPage voters supported Hillary Clinton -- not Donald Trump -- for the presidency in Tuesday's election. And Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk lost DuPage by about 3 percentage points to U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth.
But when it came to countywide and county board races, DuPage appeared to be the conservative stronghold it once was.
All three contested countywide races were won by GOP candidates.
Republicans also swept to a major victory on the county board, winning all 10 contested seats. As a result, there will be no Democrats on the 18-member board.
"The voters of DuPage County understand the county is run by Republicans, and they want to keep it that way," said Brian Krajewski, chairman of the DuPage Republican Party. He also serves on the county board and won his re-election bid on Tuesday.
Still, DuPage voters in 2012 supported President Barack Obama and elected a few local Democrats, leading some to believe the county's political base was shifting.
That shift came to a halt in 2014, when Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's success appeared to trickle down the ballot to help fellow Republicans who cruised to victories in every contested county and forest preserve race.
During that election, the number of Democrats on the county board fell from three to two.
Then Democratic incumbent Tony Michelassi, who was elected to the county board in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, lost his bid for a third term in District 5. Most voters instead picked Republican challenger Janice Anderson, a Naperville Township trustee, for the 2-year seat.
The second Democratic incumbent, Elizabeth "Liz" Chaplin, lost her District 2 seat by 327 votes to Republican newcomer Richard Blass, according to unofficial results.
Despite her loss, Chaplin said she feels "positive" about what's happening in DuPage because other Democrats, including state Rep. Deb Conroy and state Sen. Tom Cullerton, won the county.
"We are making inroads," she said.
The fact that some Clinton supporters voted for Republicans at the county level tells county board Chairman Dan Cronin one thing.
"It's a testament to what we've been doing on the county board," Cronin said. "We have a record of accomplishment. We have done things that people find remarkable."
In addition to cutting spending, DuPage has kept its property tax levy flat since 2008. Officials also are pursuing consolidation and other government reforms with the DuPage ACT (Accountability, Consolidation and Transparency) initiative.
"I am proud of what we do," Cronin said. "And I know how hard it is to accomplish. I'm delighted that the voters recognize it."
Now that every seat will be held by Republicans, Cronin said it's up to the county board to make progress.
"We've got to take it to the next level," he said. "We've got to continue to earn the trust and confidence of the voters."