Trump effect? Suburbs turn deep blue with Democratic inroads across the board

 
 
Updated 11/8/2018 7:56 AM
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  • Former President Barack Obama, center, headlined a pre-election rally Sunday at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Appearing with him, all victors on Election Day, are Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, from left, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, Lt. Gov.-elect Juliana Stratton and new U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood.

    Former President Barack Obama, center, headlined a pre-election rally Sunday at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Appearing with him, all victors on Election Day, are Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, from left, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, Lt. Gov.-elect Juliana Stratton and new U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood. Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times

  • Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, whose 6th District seat once was held by legendary conservative Henry Hyde, gets a hug from a supporter, with wife Elizabeth, right, after conceding to Democrat Sean Casten on Tuesday.

      Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, whose 6th District seat once was held by legendary conservative Henry Hyde, gets a hug from a supporter, with wife Elizabeth, right, after conceding to Democrat Sean Casten on Tuesday. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Perhaps nowhere in the country was Tuesday's Democratic blue wave more devastating to Republicans than in suburban Chicago.

In the suburbs, the midterm election flipped at least seven state House and Senate seats to the Democrats and turned 19 county board seats Democratic across six counties. With the ouster of Republican U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam of Wheaton and Randy Hultgren of Plano, the GOP has no representation in Congress from northeastern Illinois.

Former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady put the blame squarely on the White House.

"The Trump effect killed us in DuPage County, and it cost us Roskam and Hultgren," said Brady, who canvassed for candidates in the suburbs leading up to the election. "I heard it when I was out there knocking on doors. In DuPage especially, the focus of the anger was on the president."

And the tide might still be rising as some county and legislative races are still too close to call.

The Lake County Board is on the cusp of being in Democrats' hands for the first time in memory. Democrats in DuPage County are "only two away from having half the seats on the county board," said Bob Peickert, DuPage Democratic Party chairman.

"DuPage is blue," he said. "All the congressional seats are held by Democrats. The majority of state officials are Democrats."

Tuesday's suburban Democratic winners were predominantly women, a fact not lost on political experts.

"The Republican Party in Illinois paid a price for Trump," said Phillip Hardy, an associate professor of political science at Benedictine University in Lisle. "It paid a price for (Gov. Bruce) Rauner. And then there were some appealing candidates in a number of different spots that made last night good locally for the Democrats."

DuPage Republican Party Chairman Brian Krajewski said it all added up to a terrible night for Republicans.

"I don't think anywhere in Illinois is a GOP stronghold right now," he said.

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