Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth has defeated incumbent Republican Mark Kirk in a Senate race analysts saw as one of the country’s most pivotal, multiple outlets have projected.
Duckworth has served as congresswoman since 2013, representing Illinois’ 8th Congressional District, in parts of Cook, DuPage and Kane Counties. Duckworth defeated Urban League president and CEO Andrea Zopp and state Sen. Napoleon Harris in the March Democratic primary.
The combat Army veteran, who lost both her legs co-piloting a helicopter in Iraq in 2004, settled a 2007 workplace retaliation lawsuit stemming from her time as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs in June.
Over the course of the race, the Kirk campaign used Duckworth’s lawsuit and a separate set of allegations stemming from her time at the IDVA as their main line of attack.
Duckworth had held a massive lead in polls over the closing weeks of the election over Kirk, who was widely considered the most vulnerable Senate Republican up for re-election.
At an October debate, Kirk questioned the military history of Duckworth’s family in an off-the-cuff comment that drew criticism for Democrats and Republicans.
Democratic leaders are hoping to retake the Senate from Republicans and had highlighted the Illinois race as critical to those ends.
The Rock River Times had endorsed Duckworth for Senate.