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Incumbent Republican Mark Kirk Ousted By Duckworth in Illinois Senate Race

Democratic pick-up had long been assumed

Rep. Tammy Duckworth is projected to be the next junior senator from Illinois. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Tammy Duckworth is projected to be the next junior senator from Illinois. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth will defeat incumbent Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk, The Associated Press projects.

Duckworth led Kirk 65 percent to 30 percent with 25 percent of precincts reporting.

The Illinois Senate seat is the first of the anticipated pickups by Senate Democrats. Kirk, who was elected to the Senate seat previously held by President Barack Obama in what was considered a coup for Republicans at the time, was long expected to lose.

[Election Results 2016]

The race was rated Leans Democratic by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call coming into Election Day.

Both Duckworth and Kirk have been examples for persons with disabilities. Duckworth was the first female double amputee from the war in Iraq, losing both of her legs as a result of combat injuries.

Kirk, meanwhile, has been recovering from a January 2012 stroke. Since then, he faced questions about his ability to keep up with the rigors of being a senator and his general fitness for office. He made controversial statements throughout the campaign.

Duckworth currently represents the 8th District of Illinois, which includes northwest suburbs of Chicago like Elgin and Schaumburg.

Although she goes by Tammy, Duckworth’s first name is Ladda. Her father was a Marine Corps veteran who fought in the Pacific in World War II, and her mother, who is ethnically Chinese, is from Thailand.

Duckworth was born in Bangkok, where her father was working for a United Nations refugee program. She went to high school in Hawaii and stayed there for her undergraduate studies.

Duckworth takes an interest in many facets of military policy, with extra emphasis on areas where she has personal experience — the use of the National Guard, the status of weapons platforms she’s familiar with, and navigating the bureaucracy for personnel and veterans issues.

During a debate on a fiscal 2016 defense authorization amendment pertaining to women in combat, she tweeted: “When members of Congress debate women in combat, I look down at the stumps of my legs & wonder, where do they think I was — in a bar fight?”

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