A Local Look at the 2018 Election

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The 2018 Midterms saw Democrats taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since 2010.

That included local districts that have long been Republican – like Democrat Sean Casten’s victory over six-term Republican incumbent Peter Roskam.

“I don’t think the values of the district changed as much as the Republican Party has changed,” said Casten. “The fact that this district went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but went Republican down the ballot says to me this district does not align with the values of Trump, but aligns with the values of the Republican Party 20 years ago.”

And Democrat Lauren Underwood defeated Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren for the 14th District. She’s the first woman and first African American to represent the 14th.

“I’m one of the women that marched in the women’s march and decided to launch a campaign,” said Underwood. “Time magazine called us the avengers, others are calling us the pink wave, but what’s very clear is that women have been mobilized in a specific and concrete way to engage in our country.”

Democrats picked up a number of county seats as well, as Dawn DeSart and Sadia Covert defeated Republican incumbent Janice Anderson and Republican challenger Patty Gustin in the all-female race for District 5 of the DuPage County Board.

“I voted to consolidate the election commission with the clerk’s office, looking into consolidating the recorder with the clerk’s office, seeing how much money we can save,” said Covert. “Then seeing what we can do for the people with the money that we save.”

DuPage County District 3 saw Democrat Julie Renehan and Republican incumbent Greg Hart win the two open seats.

And DuPage County has some newcomers in its offices – Democrat Jean Kaczmarek takes over as county clerk and Republican James Mendrick will become the first new county sheriff in 20 years following John Zaruba’s retirement.

In a tight race, Democrat Anne Stava-Murray defeated Republican incumbent David Olsen by just 325 votes for Illinois’s 81st Congressional District.

And in a race that’s still too close to call, Republican incumbent Michael Connelly holds just a 12-vote lead over Democratic challenger Laura Ellman in the race for the 21st Illinois Senate District with mail-in ballots yet to be counted, at time of publishing.

Election officials have 14 days from the election to count those ballots and 21 days to certify the results.

“We have to wait until we canvas, meaning we certify the results to the State Board of Elections. Then candidates would have a week to file a petition calling for a discovery recount,” said Suzanne Fahnestock, executive director of the DuPage Election Commission.

Overall, voter turnout was significantly up for a midterm election.

“If we go back and look at the 2014 election, we see a turnout of 49 percent, while on Tuesday night the turnout was at 55.57 percent so there is an increase,” said Fahnestock.

And with an increase in registered voters that means there were over 67,000 more DuPage County votes cast in 2018 than in 2014.

Naperville’s consolidated elections will be held April 2, 2019.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.