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The 'Election File' voting guide: So, who's running for DuPage County Board Chair?

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With three-term incumbent Bob Schillerstrom opting for a (now defunct) gubernatorial campaign, this high-profile west suburban post is open. It’s attracted a seasoned - and competitive - field in the Republican primary. Head over to The Election File for more coverage of the 2010 primaries. Outgoing DuPage County Board Chair Bob Schillerstrom (WBEZ/<a href=

The job description “The County Board Chairman is the chief operating officer of the County Board, supervising the implementation of the Board’s policies and programs. He chairs Board meetings, prepares the agenda, and schedules meetings of the Board. The Chairman prepares a proposed annual budget, makes committee assignments, appoints committee chairmen, and recommends new and special committees as the need arises. He serves as an ex-officio member of all Board committees. The Chairman, with advise [sic] and consent of the County Board, also appoints representatives to several other boards and committees. The Chairman of the County Board is also Liquor Control Commissioner for unincorporated areas of DuPage County." (DuPage County website) The Democrat The lone Democrat in the race is lawyer Carole Cheney. She has a campaign Facebook site with limited information on it. Her other campaign site doesn’t appear to be up and running yet, and she didn’t immediately return our calls for information about her main issues. Cheney has not reported any campaign donations to the state. The Green The Greens have no candidate in this race, or for any DuPage County offices. The Republicans There are four Republicans vying for this seat. State Senator Dan Cronin (issues) is an attorney from Elmhurst who also chairs the county GOP. Gary Grasso (issues) is mayor of Burr Ridge and a member of the county board of health. Wheaton resident Debra Olson is a current member of the county board and a small business owner (issues). State Senator Carol Pankau of Itasca (issues) is also a former county board member. Outgoing board chair Bob Schillerstrom (who last week abandoned a run for the GOP nomination for Illinois governor) has not endorsed anyone in this contest. Schillerstrom tells me all four of the Republicans are qualified for the job. He also says he’s confident that whoever the nominee is, he or she will win the general election. Similarly, the editorial board at the Daily Herald writes that “DuPage residents should not be uncomfortable with any of the GOP candidates." It calls Grasso an “impressive candidate with some practical ideas,” but says he may have a “tough time taking over the reins of county government.” The paper cites Pankau’s jobs plan, adding that her campaign “has included attacks on Olson that seem counterproductive and possibly unfounded.” The endorsement runner-up was Olson, who “championed ethics reform and vowed to make holding the line on taxes a priority.” The suburban daily ultimately picked Cronin because of his “experience and his maturation in the state legislature that make him the preferred candidate for county chairman." The Tribune also lauds this “strong field," but settled on Cronin. The paper’s editorial board writes that he “offers some interesting ideas to make county government leaner and keep it focused on what local government needs to do." It also notes that Cronin is “telling the board to sober up -- its current spending plan is based on some unrealistic revenue expectations." In the money race, Olson ended 2009 with $73,525 (see who donated to her), Grasso had $7,478 (see who donated to him), Pankau had $6,561 (see who donated to her) and Cronin had $5,589 (see who donated to him). Up next On Monday, we’ll tackle that age-old election question: who are all these judges? No, we won’t go through the candidates one-by-one. But we will compile some resources to help you make a polling place decision that doesn’t involve “eeny meeny miny mo." Not that there’s any shame in that. We just think there’s got to be a better way.

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