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How This Whole Thing Got Started

It was a quiet night in November, a couple of weeks after the 2006 election has ended, when what would become Operation: Turn DuPage Blue was born. The group of thirteen DuPage Democrats who would eventually become the O:TDB Steering Committee had gathered at Bob Peickert's house in Elmhurst to meet and talk.

It was a time of both celebration and frustration. We had had great candidates, staff, and volunteers who had put forth enormous effort in various races across the county. And thanks to everyone's hard work, our results were much improved over those of previous years. One candidate, Joe Vosicky, came within one percent of defeating his Republican opponent.

But we all recognized that this wasn't enough. And the frustrating part was that despite all of this effort, not one Democrat in DuPage got elected to office. And as we talked that evening, it was clear that if we wanted to change the political landscape in DuPage, we ourselves would need to change. We needed to organize in a way that was bigger than any single candidate's campaign. Most of all, we needed a plan. And as we continued to talk, we came up with one.

We started by reaching out to others who felt the same way that we did. Our next meeting saw over forty people attending, full of ideas and enthusiasm; the meeting after that, in the dead of winter when roads were icy, had a similar level of attendance.

These initial meetings firmed up the basis for our initial strategy: to beef up our forces by recruiting precinct committee chairs. Such chairs are the backbone of local politics. By building relationships within their areas, well-trained precinct chairs make a demonstratable difference in the outcomes of elections. The DuPage Democrats had typically only managed to fill about one in five precinct committee slots. Thus, our first task, to recruit many more precinct committee chairs. And on from there.