The primary elections saw strong voter turnout in DuPage and Will counties, with many tight races.
Locally in the 6th Congressional District, Democrat and energy executive Sean Casten won his bid by just over three percent. He’ll race against Republican incumbent Peter Roskam.
“In the 6th District for the first time as long as anybody can remember, there were more people who pulled a democratic ballot than pulled a republican ballot,” said Casten. “There’s a big change going on, and it’ll be interesting to see as the numbers come out. It’s possible that that reflects an increase in Democratic engagement.”
DuPage County Board nominee and Naperville City Councilwoman Patty Gustin narrowly took the Republican vote with just three percent over her opponent.
Dawn DeSart took the Democratic nomination for the DuPage County Board with nearly two percent over Sadia Covert.
Over to Will County– this fall you’ll see Republicans Julie Berkowicz and Kathy Havel on the ballot for District 11 of the Will County Board. The two Napervillians will face the uncontested Democratic nominee, Michelle “Mimi” Cowan.
For comptroller of Illinois, incumbent Democrat Susana Mendoza and Republican Darlene Senger both ran unopposed for their nominations.
Republican James Mendrick grabbed the DuPage County Sheriff nomination over Frank Bibbiano with 60 percent of votes.
Republican Tonia Khouri won the nomination for Illinois House District 49 with 65 percent of the vote.
In the 11th District, Republican and Benedictine University alum Nick Stella had a sweeping victory with 79 percent of the vote. He’ll face Democratic incumbent Bill Foster in November.
“We need to get people out to vote,” said Stella. “It’s important to get people to realize that voting is the most important thing you have as a citizen- it’s critical. People need to be empowered again because they feel that their input doesn’t count, but it does. I want to empower people in the 11th District.”
And Naperville-native Lauren Underwood triumphed over her six male competitors, taking the Democratic nomination for the 14th Congressional District with nearly 60 percent of the vote. She’ll go up against Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren in the general election.
“I’m the first woman that’s been nominated from the Democratic Party to represent this community,” explained Underwood. “So as women have been gathered together in the #MeToo movement, women have been activated in marching across the country in these nonpartisan women’s marches. And women have been leading the resistance. I’m excited to have a woman’s voice leading the conversation here in the 14th around these issues that are so critically important to families across out community.”
Also of note – DuPage County voters decided in favor of dissolving the DuPage County Election Commission and merging it with the DuPage County Clerk’s Office. The results from that vote are non-binding but could help state lawmakers push the issue through in Springfield.
Overall, voter turnout seems to be on the rise in DuPage, as about 41 percent more ballots were cast this time around as compared to the 2014 general primary when there was also no presidential race.
“It feels like there’s a lot more interest and a lot more people paying attention,” said voter Christine Carrington. “People [are] being more active and being involved, so that’s heartening.”
23 percent of registered voters in DuPage County went to the polls, and in Will County about 21 percent of registered voters cast their ballots.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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