How a blue wave rolled through historically Republican Naperville, leaving the GOP in its wake

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When Carole Kerr moved to DuPage County in the 1970s, she was shocked when a Democratic precinct committeeman knocked on her door. “I thought I was going to faint,” said the longtime Democrat from Naperville.

Like most Democrats in DuPage, Kerr thought she was alone because for decades the county was steadfastly Republican. In many election cycles, the GOP candidate ran unopposed because the Democrats didn’t field a candidate.

Little by little, Kerr said she’s seen the pendulum swing to the left.

Democrat Bill Foster of Naperville was re-elected to Congress in the 11th Congressional District in 2012, and Democrats ousted Republican incumbents in several Naperville and Lisle township races in 2017.

From a political science perspective, it’s no surprise Democratic candidates did well in Naperville.

Chod said voters in suburban communities surrounding large cities tend to be wealthier and more educated. The fact that more people of color are moving into Naperville checks another box off the list.

Kerr said Naperville’s demographics are changing as evidenced by the 800 people who attended a Naperville interfaith service last week in reaction to hate-motivated gun attack during a Jewish Shabbat service in Pittsburgh.

The Jewish congregation was joined by the spiritual leaders of 11 faiths from the area, including Mormons, Hindus, Muslims and Catholics.

“That’s the community we live in now,” Kerr said. “They’re concerned about people besides themselves.”

subaker@tribpub.com

Twitter @SbakerSun

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November 11, 2018 at 07:12AM

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