DuPage County's hot races: Sheriff, chairman, clerk, more
With so much focus on state and federal races, it's easy to overlook contests down the ballot that will affect how DuPage residents are represented at the local level.
Here's a look at the hottest county races and referendum questions DuPage voters will be deciding Tuesday.
Longtime Sheriff John Zaruba is retiring after more than two decades in charge and voters will determine if his successor comes from inside or outside the sheriff's office. The two candidates are Republican James Mendrick and Democrat Gregory Whalen.
Mendrick is a Woodridge resident who has served in the sheriff's department for more than 20 years. He currently is a patrol commander.
Whalen is a Clarendon Hills resident who serves as a lieutenant with the Glencoe Department of Public Safety.
Republican incumbent Dan Cronin is hoping to serve a third term as chairman of the DuPage County Board. But Cronin is being challenged by Democrat Lynn LaPlante, who wants to become the first woman elected to head the panel.
It will be up to voters to determine which candidate leads the county board for the next four years.
Cronin, of Elmhurst, is an attorney who has served as board chairman since 2010 after previous stints in the state Senate and state House. LaPlante, of Glen Ellyn, is a musician and activist seeking her first elected office.
The new county clerk will oversee a dramatic change early next year when the office merges with the DuPage Election Commission.
That person will be either Republican incumbent Paul Hinds or Democratic challenger Jean Kaczmarek.
Hinds, of Villa Park, is a longtime veteran of the department and has served as clerk since 2014. Kaczmarek, of Glen Ellyn, is a self-employed communications consultant and self-described election watchdog seeking her first elected office.
The county board is expected in January to vote to merge the election commission into the clerk's office. It's also possible the county recorder's office someday could be merged with the clerk's office.
Elmhurst Unit District 205 is asking voters for a property tax increase to pay for $168.5 million in construction projects throughout the district.
Officials are hoping to replace Lincoln and Field elementary schools and upgrade other buildings to improve security, provide science, technology, engineering and math spaces, and add classrooms for all-day kindergarten.
The ballot question is the result of a three-year community engagement process, development of a master facilities plan and a survey of the community.
If the measure is approved, the owner of a $500,000 house would pay an estimated $149 more a year in property taxes to the school district.
Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 is seeking permission from voters to pursue a plan to replace the aging Jefferson Early Childhood Center.
If the ballot question is approved, the district will construct and equip a new early childhood center without raising property taxes to pay for it. That's because a Utah-based bank is planning to front roughly $15 million for the project.
Under a tentative lease, District 200 will rent the building for 20 years while paying the bank about $1 million a year out of operating funds.
The district would take ownership of the building after paying off the debt.