CHICAGO (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth won reelection Tuesday in Illinois, defeating political newcomer and lawyer Kathy Salvi.
Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down in 2004, has served in Congress for nearly a decade. Between 2013 and 2017, she represented Illinois’ 8th Congressional District, northwest of Chicago.
The 54-year-old was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2017, beating out incumbent Republican Mark Kirk, and in April 2018 became the first senator to give birth while in office.
Salvi, a Chicago-area personal injury lawyer, edged out six competitors to win the Republican primary in June. The 63-year-old campaigned as an alternative for voters looking for a change from soaring prices and high crime rates.
Just one hour after polls closed in Illinois, Salvi's campaign said she called to congratulate Duckworth on the win.
“While she and I differ on many issues, we share the view that we need to strengthen our economy, make communities safe and restore civility to our political system,” the statement said.
“It is my sincere hope that she will be a strong voice on behalf of all Illinoisans in the United States Senate over the next six years and I wish her well.”
After Duckworth won, the senator vowed to protect the U.S. Constitution and the “rights enshrined in its pages.”
“We haven’t done justice to the justice promised in its sentences and sentiments,” she said. "So you better believe that in my next term, I’m going to keep doing everything in my power to change that.”
Salvi and Duckworth have opposite views on abortion, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June is not a right under the Constitution.
In a joint interview sponsored by the Illinois AP Media Editors Oct. 3, Duckworth and Salvi sparred over the issue.
“She wants to rip freedom away from women,” Duckworth said of her opponent.
Salvi cast Duckworth’s position as extreme, saying “there isn’t an abortion she doesn’t support.”
Duckworth said Salvi misstated her stance, and that she supports Illinois' restrictions on abortions after viability — about 24 weeks of pregnancy — as well as codifying Roe v. Wade.
Salvi said in an Oct. 27 debate that she opposes abortion but supports exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or threat to a patient's life.
Savage is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
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