Democratic Incumbent Tammy Duckworth projected to win U.S. Senate seat


Illustration by Olivia Abeyta

Duckworth served as a U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 8th Congressional District for two terms from 2013 to 2017, and as the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Lily Carey, Newsletter Editor

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth won the U.S. Senate race for Illinois over Republican candidate Kathy Salvi, clinching her second Congressional term. 

As results came in, Duckworth maintained around 60% of the vote, though her lead dropped several percentage points throughout the night. As of 10:00 p.m., with 71% of votes reported, Duckworth came in at 57.5% of the vote, with Salvi at 40.8% and Libertarian candidate Bill Redpath at 1.7%. In Cook County, Duckworth won with a 72.6% majority. 

The Associated Press initially called the race with zero percent of the vote reported, just minutes after Illinois polls closed at 7 p.m.

Duckworth, who has served in the Senate since 2016, was projected to win by a 15.3 point margin, according to a FiveThirtyEight poll updated Nov. 8. The incumbent created a major fundraising gap over her opponents, swaying voters in the democratic stronghold of Illinois.

Duckworth was also the first Thai American and first woman with a disability elected to Congress, as well as the first female double amputee in the Senate.

Salvi, a political newcomer, is a Chicago-area attorney. She defeated six other candidates in a heavily contested Republican primary in June, and focused her campaign on combating crime and lowering inflation.

Redpath was the former chairman, treasurer and representative of the Libertarian National Committee and ran as the Libertarian candidate for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District in 2020.

Duckworth served as a U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 8th Congressional District for two terms from 2013 to 2017 and as the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. An Iraq War veteran, she currently chairs the Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee. 

In her victory speech delivered just over an hour after the race was called, Duckworth spoke about combating gun violence, protecting access to reproductive health care, and supporting parents, families and veterans.

She highlighted the state’s role in driving American innovation, emphasizing how “Illinoisans have led the way.” 

“My life is the American dream come true, and I’m honored to get to keep working to help every kid in every pocket of Illinois to realize their own dreams, too,” she said.

Illinois news network WGN9 reported that Salvi released an official concession statement following Duckworth’s speech, wishing her the best in supporting all Illinoisans.

As an immigrant and a veteran, Duckworth also said Tuesday’s win inspired her to continue helping others achieve what she had.

While serving in Iraq in 2004, Duckworth lost both her legs in a helicopter accident. She received a Purple Heart award, which honors military personnel wounded in battle, and has been an outspoken advocate for veterans’ rights throughout her political career.

Ahead of the election, Duckworth spent far more than her opponents. The incumbent raised $20.4 million and spent $14.6 million, while Salvi raised $1.1 million and spent just under $968,000, according to

As she looks to take on her second term as Senator, Duckworth said building on the work of her first term will be crucial to achieving equity, both across the U.S. and across Illinois. 

“We are a state uniquely positioned to keep powering this nation as we have done for so long,” she said. “But what we have accomplished in the past doesn’t determine what we will achieve in the future. We can’t let up now.” 

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