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Democrats win big in DuPage County Board races

It was a big night for Democratic candidates seeking seats on the DuPage County Board.

Seven Democratic candidates were victorious in the Nov. 6 election, including Downers Grove resident Elizabeth Chaplin, who has been the lone Democrat on the 18-member board.

Chaplin garnered 34,573 votes, or about 41.7 percent of the vote, in the three-way District 2 contest, according to unofficial results. Republican Peter DiCianni of Elmhurst also was victorious, receiving 26,598 votes, or about 32.1 percent. Fellow Republican Steve Nero, a Westmont trustee, received 21,725 votes, or about 26.2 percent, preliminary numbers show.

In District 3, Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully fell short in his bid for a County Board seat, garnering 22,293 votes, or about 27 percent of the vote, according to unofficial totals.

Tully said he was not disappointed with the results and will serve the remaining six months of his mayoral term before closing the book on his 16 years of public service.

"This has always been about public service, not a career," Tully said, adding he will have more time to devote to his family and the law firm he started earlier this year.

The two open seats were won by Republican incumbent Greg Hart of Hinsdale, who was appointed to the board in 2017, and Democrat Julie Renehan of Hinsdale.

Renehan was the lead vote-getter in the race, receiving 31,419 votes, or 38.04 percent of the vote, followed by Hart, who received 28,874 votes, or 34.96 percent, preliminary totals show.

Renehan was pleased with the success Democrats had in county races.

"It's exciting," she said. "I'll be the first Democrat to represent District 3."

Although she's a political newcomer, Renehan believes she ran a solid campaign.

"I know the issues," she said. "I've lived here a long time. If you live here long enough, you know what's working and what's not working."

Hart credited his success to a campaign that reached out to all voters regardless of party affiliation.

"We worked especially hard," he said.

Campaign themes that included improved government efficiency and less waste resonated with voters, Hart added.

In District 1, Republican incumbent Sam Tornatore of Roselle and Democratic newcomer Ashley Selmon of Addison were victorious in the four-way race. Tornatore received 23,672 votes, or 29.08 percent of the vote, while Selmon garnered 21,381 votes, or 26.27 percent, according to unofficial results.

Fellow Republican incumbent Dino Gavanes of Itasca and Democratic newcomer Zahra Suratwala of Elmhurst came up short with 18,596 and 17,752 votes, respectively, initial numbers show.

In District 4, Democrat Mary FitzGerald Ozog of Glen Ellyn was the lead vote-getter, receiving 27,835 votes, or 28.29 percent of the vote. She will be joined on the board by Republican incumbent Grant Eckhoff of Wheaton, who picked up 26,101 votes, or 26.53 percent, according to preliminary poll returns.

Republican Christopher Zaruba of Wheaton garnered 23,476 votes, while Democrat Hadiya Afzal, an 18-year-old from Glen Ellyn, received 20,966 votes, unofficial numbers indicate.

Two Democrats won the two open seats in District 5: Dawn DeSart and Sadia G. Covert. They received 27,412 and 25,632 votes, or 27.5 percent and about 25.7 percent of the vote, respectively, according to initial poll results. They beat Republicans Patricia Gustin and incumbent Janice Anderson, who respectively received about 25.5 percent and 21.3 percent of the vote.

Like four of the other districts, District 6 saw voters elect one Republican and one Democrat. Republican incumbent James Zay led the pack with 24,334 votes, or 28.26 percent of the vote, and Sheila C. Rutledge came in second with 22,941 votes, or 26.64 percent, preliminary numbers show. They beat Republican incumbent Kevin Wiley, who received 19,645 votes, and Democrat Erica Green, who garnered 19,185.

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