From columnist Ray Hanania:
Democratic surge in DuPage County undermines reckless Republican leaders
In order to understand what happened in Illinois on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, you have to understand the surprise election events in DuPage County.
For years, DuPage County was the Republican antithesis of the Democratic Cook County. But as Cook County shifted its concerns from protecting law abiding citizens to protecting the “rights” of criminals and undermining Police, many packed up and left for DuPage County.
Over the years, the growth of conservative Democratic voters has increased in DuPage County and most conservative Democrats voted for moderate Republicans as much as they voted for moderate Democrats — people who are the polar opposites of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County States Attorney and criminal advocate Kim Foxx.
But as the Republican Party moved more and more to the far right under people like Keith Pekau, fake newspapers with anonymous writers, and a new brand of hate and name calling driven political strategies, conservative Democrats started to wane.
The Republican Party in Cook County is a total disaster, run by a man who defended a sex predator (who happened to be his employee). Cook County GOP Chairman Sean Morrison abandoned the moderate Republican movement to hug the far right believing that was the future, a far right driven by the worst aspects of former President Donald Trump.
Trump had some good ideas and he certainly was better than Hillary Clinton. But he put most of his emphasis, while in office, on pettiness and stupid name calling bursts aggravating how the news media portrayed him. Trump has done a terrible job of trying to lead the Republican Party and the election November 8 shows how his influence has diminished significantly. People like Morrison, who only cares about himself not the Republican party or political principles, ran to the far extremist right.
Of course, the Democrats nationally are no better with President Joe Biden, who is covering the corruption of his son Hunter Biden and can’t seem to get himself focused to do anything during his first two years. He controlled the White House, the House and the Senate and yet he couldn’t get anything significant done. He said he would work to bring both sides together for the good of the country. Instead, in his last speech to the nation he railed against his political foes (sometimes incoherently) and helped to make the polarized ugly divide even greater than it was.
But you can’t close your eyes to the failed Republican leadership by pointing to Biden’s failed leadership. And you can’t point to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker who uses his billions to buy elections — he spent $24 million to help edge out Jesse Sullivan, a stronger Republican contender for governor, and instead, Pritzker promoted Darren Bailey. There should be some law that prevents that kind of PAC spending to deceive voters the way Pritzker, one of Illinois’ worst governors, did.
Illinois isn’t like the rest of the country. The weakness of the Republican Party in Illinois combined with the flight of conservative Democrats further into the suburbs, and the grip that far right wing fanatics have on the Republicans, created an election Tsunami that had terrible repercussions no one anticipated.
Let’s look at DuPage County.
Democrats swept the county’s top offices: the chairman of the DuPage County Board, a Democrat; DuPage County Clerk, a Democrat; The Republican sheriff had no opposition and Republicans only won the County Treasurer’s office contested by a Democrat.
On the DuPage County board itself in the six districts (3 are elected from each), Democrats strengthened their foundation winning 10 of the 18 seats. And, in each of the six county districts, it was a Democrat that received the highest vote totals.
The vote shows that Democrats significantly increased their presence in DuPage County. And that ended up undermining the expectations of the Republicans including in the two Congressional Districts that depended on and expected strong Republican votes in DuPage County.
In the ugly battle led by Orland Park Mayor and Republican Keith Pekau to win the 6th Congressional District, the election night count showed Pekau and Democrat incumbent Sean Casten going back and forth in leading as the vote count proceeded.
But in the end, when DuPage County votes were finally tabulated and added to the totals, Casten received a massive boost of some 20,000 votes that gave him the election victory.
Most of those votes came from, you guessed it, DuPage County.
In DuPage County in the 6th District, Casten defeated Pekau — who is best known for making enemies out of friends and those huge ugly campaign signs that pollute the public way throughout — by a nearly 21,000 vote margin.
DuPage County vote only
Sean Casten: 73,256
Keith Pekau: 52,659
It was the same in the 11th Congressional District where Republican Catalina Lauf was challenging veteran incumbent Democrat Bill Foster. Foster beat Lauf by nearly 25,000 votes in DuPage County.
DuPage County vote only
Bill Foster: 49,107
Catalina Lauf: 29,216
Other statewide Democrats also won the DuPage County vote giving them even greater margins over their Republican rivals.
I know many Republicans are in a daze about what happened on Tuesday and are rightly questioning the failed leaders of former President Donald Trump — although that does not in anyway give any credit to the real Republican losers like Liz Cheney, the daughter of war criminal and profiteer Dick Cheney, and Adam Kinzinger. Cheney and Kinzinger are selfish opportunists who did as much to promote the rise of hatred in this country as anyone. To see them partner with the far left mainstream news media is laughable and pathetic.
But that doesn’t change the fact that the Republican leadership in Illinois, starting with Cook County and DuPage County need a massive change.
Morrison, truly a despicable person who should never be allowed to sit on the Cook County Board let alone lead the Republican Party, should be forced to resign. His “slate” of candidates did terrible, of course. He was only concerned about himself. Morrison should resign and do the Republican Party a favor. Not one of the candidates Morrison slated countywide won or even came close to winning. Maybe there is a smart moderate Republican who can take him on and save Republicans in Cook County before they vanish.
As far as DuPage County goes, no county is tougher on criminals and does a far better job of confronting the criminals forcing them to be held accountable for their crimes.
It’s ironic that Republicans claimed to be the law-and-order candidates while Democrats focused mainly on the issue of abortion rights. In a state where abortion rights are solid and despite the national trend will not change, crime and safety are the top concerns of law abiding citizens. Inflation is another.
Rather than offer solutions, Republicans like Morrison and Pekau fear mongered hoping to generate votes. It didn’t work. The turnout of voters in DuPage County wasn’t that low, either. More than 54 percent of voters went to the polls, a number higher than most other areas.
If Republicans want to understand what happened, they need to look inside their own party and replace the losers that led them to this disaster.
Republicans need to support MODERATES to help strengthen party, not EXTREMISTS who use a lot of ugly name calling screams to deflect from their failures and who offer no solutions.
Moderates know how to work with the reality of the regional politics and are as anti-crime as anyone.
It’s not enough to complain about crime. You have to have strong smart leaders with great ideas and commonsense in order to stop Foxx and Lightfoot. They can’t just scream about those issues just to get themselves votes.
Tuesday’s election failures clearly show that strategy of fear mongering doesn’t work