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DuPage board chair Schillerstrom to run for governor
By Joseph Ryan | Daily Herald Staff

DuPage County Chairman Bob Schillerstrom


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Published: 6/24/2009 3:44 PM | Updated: 6/24/2009 5:41 PM

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The Republican field for governor is getting crowded, with two DuPage County officials expected to announced their prospective campaigns in the coming days.

County board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom is set to hold a rally in his hometown of Naperville on Sunday to kick off his public campaign for governor. He has been exploring the idea behind the scenes for months.

"Bob has experience as an executive leader running a county that is larger than six states," said campaign spokesman Brad Hahn.

Meanwhile, Hinsdale Republican state Sen. Kirk Dillard, a former chairman of the county GOP, said he'll make an official announcement July 8 and cited his past work for GOP Govs. Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar as valuable experience toward putting the state back on track.

"I've seen such a vacuum of leadership in this (Capitol) building that I believe I need to step up and offer what I've done throughout my life in other parts of my career," said Dillard. "Whether it's going from being my fraternity president in college through the leadership of the DuPage County Republican Party, I have in many cases in my life had leadership roles, and it all comes down to leadership."

It is still at least two months before petitions are due in to actually get a name on the ballot for the governor primary in February.

Schillerstrom, who was first elected to head the county board in 1998, flirted with a run for governor in 2006, but backed out.

He all but declared his second bid this time in May.

But since then Republican power brokers have been hoping to limit the field of GOP contenders as more and more politicians jump in. With former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich facing corruption charges and current Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn floating tax hikes, GOP brass view the coming election with promise.

In DuPage County alone - long the power base for Republicans in the state - Schillerstrom, Dillard and State's Attorney Joe Birkett have all been mentioned as potential candidates.

State Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine entered the race this week along with conservative pundit Dan Proft of Wheaton.

Bloomington state Sen. Bill Brady has been campaigning since he came in third in the 2006 GOP primary. Other candidates include Hinsdale resident Adam Andrzejewski.

Hahn dismissed concerns about a divisive primary that could sap the Republicans of campaign cash and support in a predominately Democratic state.

"We are focused on telling Bob's story," he said. "He is excited to get out and meet with voters."