GOP primary battle lines emerge in DuPage County

DuPage County election season officially got underway Monday with a Democratic candidate dropping out of the top local race, primary battles brewing on the Republican side and a few other political twists.

Glen Ellyn Democrat Lynn LaPlante ended her campaign for county board chair, presumably giving Deb Conroy a clear shot at the Democratic nomination.

LaPlante will instead run to retain her county board seat representing the central portion of DuPage as Democrats fight to hold onto their majority two years after making historic inroads. All 18 board seats will be up for election as a result of redistricting.

Former county board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom also is set to make a return to DuPage politics. The longtime GOP power broker is seeking the party's nod for forest preserve district president.

Candidates can turn in their nominating paperwork with the county clerk's office through March 14. The primary election is June 28. Here are some of the storylines from the initial rush of filings:

County board chair

Greg Hart and Pete DiCianni both filed Monday to run in the GOP primary to replace departing county board Chairman Dan Cronin.

DiCianni's campaign said the former Elmhurst mayor submitted more than 4,000 signatures to get on the ballot. Hart said he delivered over 4,200.

Hart is a board member in his first full term. DiCianni has held his county board seat since 2012.

In the Democratic primary, Conroy, a state lawmaker from Villa Park, plans to file on March 14. She'll likely end up unopposed. Last month, Liz Chaplin bowed out of the chairmanship race, endorsed Conroy and will now run for reelection to her county board seat.

LaPlante didn't get into the specifics of her decision to give up her bid for the highest office in DuPage. But she trailed far behind Conroy in fundraising.

“I believe it's imperative we maintain our hard-won majority on the county board, and this is the best way I can help ensure that we do so,” LaPlante said. “I love serving on the board and look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the citizens of DuPage County in this capacity.”

District 1

In one of the county's most crowded primary fields so far, incumbents Don Puchalski and Sam Tornatore face Republican competition.

Cynthia Cronin Cahill, an Elmhurst accountant and the sister of the county board chairman, joined Maria Reyes of Addison and Elmhurst Alderman Bob Dunn in launching their bids to represent the northeastern part of DuPage.

No Democrat filed on the first day.

District 2

As of Monday, the Democratic primary ticket features Chaplin, fellow incumbent Paula Deacon Garcia and newcomer Yeena Yoo, who finished 100 votes short of an Elmhurst City Council seat in last year's municipal elections.

Two Republican candidates have emerged: Daniel Kordik, an attorney and former state House candidate who lost to Conroy in 2012, and Sean Noonan, a former county board member and Bloomingdale police officer who was unseated by Deacon Garcia in 2020.

District 3

Republican incumbent Brian Krajewski, an attorney from Downers Grove, is running along with two other GOP contenders: Greg Abbott of Woodridge and Kari Galassi of Hinsdale.

Two Democrats — Lucy Chang Evans, a civil engineer and former Naperville City Council candidate, and Amanda Roudebush of Hinsdale — filed their nominating packets Monday.

District 4

Republican Grant Eckhoff is vying for another term in a contested primary with at least three challengers: Reid Foltyniewicz, a former Lombard trustee and an administrative sergeant in the Oak Brook Police Department; Annette Corrigan, a College of DuPage trustee from Wheaton; and perennial county board candidate Paula McGowen of Glen Ellyn.

The three Democratic candidates — LaPlante, fellow incumbent Mary Ozog and Shawn Ryan — all hail from Glen Ellyn.

District 5

Democrats Amy Chavez, Sadia Covert and Dawn DeSart made their reelection bids official Monday.

The GOP primary field so far includes Richard Janor, a Naperville Park District commissioner; Janice Anderson, a former county board member from Naperville; and Patricia “Patty” Gustin, a sitting Naperville city councilwoman.

District 6

GOP voters will see some familiar faces in the primary. Jim Zay, the board's longest-serving member, filed candidate petitions Monday, as did former state lawmaker Christine Winger and Bob Larsen, who lost his board seat in 2020 to Greg Schwarze, a former Carol Stream village trustee and firefighter.

Now in his first board term, Schwarze and fellow Democratic incumbent Sheila Rutledge were among the first-day filers.

Forest preserve president

A former Illinois Tollway chairman, Schillerstrom was the only candidate from either party to file Monday. He currently serves as a Morton Arboretum trustee.

“I want to expand our treescape, protect and preserve our open space and continue to clean up our waterways,” Schillerstrom said in a campaign announcement. “It is also a priority for me to ensure our forest preserves and recreational offerings are accessible to people at every level of ability.”

  DuPage candidates gathered Monday morning in the county government complex for the start of a weeklong filing period. Susan Sarkauskas/
  Greg Hart, a DuPage County Board chairman candidate, turns in his nominating petitions to appear on the GOP primary ballot. Susan Sarkauskas/
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