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Duckworth Defeats Kirk For U.S. Senate

Kirk and Duckworth arriving at the Illinois State Fair
Amanda Vinicky (Kirk); Brian Mackey (Duckworth)
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NPR Illinois
Kirk, left, lost to Duckworth, right. The candidates are seen arriving for their respective party rallies at the Illinois State Fair in these file photos.

Illinois voters are sending a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk.

Kirk recovered from a debilitating stroke in 2012, but was always going to have a hard time holding onto the seat. He won the seat in the Tea Party wave election of 2010, and Illinois tends to vote more Democratic in presidential election years.

Kirk was magnanimous in defeat, inviting Duckworth to meet at Chicago's Billy Goat Tavern.

“This coming beer summit will show kids across Illinois that opponents can peacefully bury the hatchet after a tough election," Kirk told his supporters.

Duckworth was also gracious: “Sen. Kirk has served this country for over two decades, and we are grateful for his service." Duckworth, a wounded Iraq war veteran, will be in the minority in the Senate.

She says she'll work on college affordability, veterans' healthcare, and job creation.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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