'It's OK to cross party lines': Naperville mayor backs Biden, local GOP candidates
Three campaign yard signs adorn Steve Chirico's front lawn, signifying how the Naperville mayor intends to vote in the Nov. 3 election.
GOP candidate Kevin Coyne for DuPage County Board District 5. Republican incumbent Grant Wehrli for Illinois House District 41.
And for president, Democrat Joe Biden.
The first two signs should come as no surprise to those familiar with Chirico, who says he has been a Republican his entire life and will continue backing the party at local and state levels.
But when it comes to his endorsement of the Democratic nominee over President Donald Trump, Chirico said he's choosing character over policy.
"Biden wouldn't have been my first choice in the Democratic primary to run against Trump, but I believe that of the two candidates, he's the best choice for the country," he said. "(Trump's) behavior, to me, is not acceptable."
Chirico, who is in his second term as mayor, posted a photo of the campaign signs on his Facebook page Friday, igniting debate among his followers and community members. By early this week, the public post had garnered hundreds of comments from a mix of supporters and critics, some of whom questioned his decision to vote blue in the presidential race.
"In my view, the state Democratic Party has a serious character and ethics problem AND at the national level, the Republican Party has a serious character and ethics problem," his post says. "I will be voting accordingly."
Amid a contentious election season, the reaction to his endorsement doesn't shock Chirico, who said he doesn't always publicize which candidates he will support. But his opinion has remained consistent since before the 2016 election, when he was quoted saying he does not believe Trump is the right person to lead the country.
Though Chirico doesn't agree with many of the Democratic Party's policies, he said Tuesday, Trump's temperament "speaks for itself" in a leadership position where "character does count." He believes many Republicans feel the same way.
"The message I really want to put out there is, 'Hey, look, it's OK to cross party lines,'" Chirico said.
The lifelong Naperville resident has no intention of straying from the GOP in more local races, where he says fiscal discipline and Republican policies are sorely needed. The Democratic power in Illinois is not healthy, he said, adding both parties nationwide "need to start coming together."
Coyne, who sits on the Naperville City Council, is vying against Democrat Amy Chavez for a District 5 seat on the county board. In the House District 41 race, two-term incumbent Wehrli is being challenged by Democrat Janet Yang Rohr, a Naperville Unit District 203 board member.
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