DuPage County, the second-most populous in Illinois after Chicago’s Cook County, was once a Republican bastion. But it has become much more competitive for Democrats after an influx of diverse voters in recent years.
The intensity of the county’s blue wave became clear when Democrat Sean Casten unseated six-term Republican Rep. Peter Roskam for the 6th District House seat in 2018. Casten will face Republican Keith Pekau in the fall. Parts of DuPage County will vote in the 11th House District race: Incumbent Democrat Bill Foster will face GOP challenger Catalina Lauf.
The races may come down to whether the GOP candidates can convince DuPage voters that they have better policies on issues like rising crime and inflation. But they’ll need to appeal to DuPage’s increasingly diverse electorate.
Bordering Chicago, DuPage is economically successful thanks to its connection to the city’s transportation routes. That’s made it a draw for Asian and Latino residents leaving the city in favor of the suburbs. In the past decade, the county’s white population has dropped from 78 percent to 66 percent while the Asian population has grown by nearly 30 percent, and the Hispanic population has grown by nearly 19 percent.
In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the county since Franklin Pierce in 1852. DuPage has voted Democratic in presidential elections ever since. In 2020, the blue wave reached every level of government. DuPage voted Democratic in the presidential and Senate races, all six of the U.S. House races and 12 of the 16 state representative races, including the state senate and general assembly. Democrats also flipped the county board for the first time since the 1930s.
— Nika Schoonover