Tammy Duckworth defeats Mark Kirk in U.S. Senate race

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - For the second time in Illinois history and the second time in the last 25 years, voters Tuesday elected a woman to represent them in the U.S. Senate, choosing Representative Tammy Duckworth over incumbent Mark Kirk, according to an analysis and projection made by the Associated Press.

Polls had predicted Duckworth’s apparent victory for months, with political observers believing Kirk was among the most vulnerable Senate incumbents in the 2016 cycle. She received strong backing from President Barack Obama on the campaign trail and through fundraising efforts.

Now the question is if Duckworth will find herself as part of a new Democrat-controlled Senate majority.

Kirk, a Champaign native, suffered a stroke in 2011 and didn’t return to work until 2012. Kirk distanced himself from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign at the top of the Republican ticket back in June when said the GOP nominee didn’t have the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief. Kirk did not attend the Republican National Convention last summer, opting to stay home to focus on his campaign.

Kirk’s bid suffered a late unforced error in the waning days of the campaign, when his remarks during the first televised debate with Duckworth seemed to cast aspersions on her family’s military service. Kirk apologized the next day.

Both campaigns were gathered with supporters in the Chicago area Tuesday night. Check back to this story for continuing coverage.