DUPAGE COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- State Rep. Deb Conroy is making history as the first woman to be elected to serve as DuPage County Board Chairman.
Conroy's Republican challenger, Greg Hart, conceded to her late Tuesday night following a very close race. The 35-year-old outspent Conroy 2:1 in a very tight race.
"We're elated," Conroy said. "I mean, we made history. First woman. We are still debating exactly how long it's been or if there has been a Democrat, so it's been at least a century."
Conroy said when she was first elected to the state legislature 10 years ago, she was the only elected Democrat in a solidly red DuPage County. Over the years, DuPage has become more racially and economically diverse and slowly more Democratic as Republicans moved further to the right.
"In 2018, we elected an amazing amount of strong women to office in DuPage," Conroy said. "That was a strong turning point for me."
Conroy replaces Republican Dan Cronin, who decided not run after 12 years as the DuPage County Chair. While he acknowledges DuPage has turned blue, he does not believe the changing face of the county is why Greg Hart, a moderate Republican, lost.
"I think Greg Hart was a perfect example of a candidate that can and should win in the suburbs, we just had some monumental obstacles to overcome," Cronin said.
Cronin said the abortion issue motivated more women to vote, but he says Darren Bailey on top of the ticket was Hart's biggest obstacle.
"He trailed Governor Pritzker by 18 points in DuPage County," Cronin said. "That is a monumental obstacle to overcome for someone who is down the ticket."
With the right moderate candidate, Cronin is convinced Republicans can win again. Conroy will take office on December 5.
Conroy is not the only one who made history. The first African American male was elected to the DuPage County Board. Democrats are poised to retain their majority.