Candidates emerge to succeed longtime DuPage County Board chairman
The race to succeed DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin already is off and running with declared candidates and others flirting with a bid.
Two days after Cronin announced he won't seek a fourth term, the first Republican contender formally launched his campaign.
Greg Hart, a sitting board member from Hinsdale, will run for his party's nomination for the chairman's position in 2022.
On the Democratic ticket, Liz Chaplin, once the party's sole county board member, is vying to take the seat held by Republicans for generations. First elected in 2012, Chaplin took the helm of the finance committee after Democrats won control of the board in 2020 for the first time since the Great Depression.
State Rep. Deb Conroy, a Villa Park Democrat, said she's also considering a run for the county's top seat. Her fifth term expires next year.
"I will decide where I can best serve DuPage County in the coming weeks," Conroy said Thursday.
She represents the one-time seat of former Illinois House speaker and conservative stalwart Lee Daniels, another sign that the traditionally ruby red DuPage has skewed more Democratic.
Hart is seen in some GOP circles as the future of the party in DuPage.
In 2018, when he won his first full term, Hart received 29,904 votes, more than any other Republican county board candidate. The year prior, he was appointed to the board's District 3 seat.
Cronin has not yet formally endorsed a successor. But Hart received $10,000 from Cronin's campaign fund during the year's second quarter, state records show.
"I don't think it's a big secret that I have a particular respect for Greg Hart," Cronin said.
Hart's campaign had $267,627 on hand at the end of June. At the time, Pete DiCianni, whose name has been bandied about as another potential GOP hopeful for chairman, held the fundraising advantage with $337,404 available, according to the last quarterly report filed with the state board of elections.
DiCianni, a nearly decadelong board member and former Elmhurst mayor, declined to say whether he'll join the field but may have a news conference next week.
Hart released a campaign video Thursday focusing on his business acumen and roots in DuPage. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and co-owns a management consulting firm.
"We're making DuPage a great place to live and work," Hart says in the video. "We also need to make sure that we encourage a diverse workforce and allow everyone to do business with the county."
Hart has chaired a county task force formed in response to the opioid crisis. The Heroin/Opioid Prevention and Education Taskforce, or HOPE, a joint effort by the county board and DuPage health department, helped launch a specialty drug court for first-time offenders.
Hart also has touted his decision to decline taxpayer-subsidized health benefits. Individual board members can sign up to receive health and dental insurance through the county.
As a result of redistricting, all 18 board seats will be up for election in 2022.