Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth defeated Republican Sen. Mark Kirk in the hotly contested Illinois Senate race Tuesday.
Kirk fought hard, spending almost all of the nearly $13 million he raised in the Senate race as of Nov. 6 funding numbers. Duckworth raised $15,055,642 — substantially more than Kirk.
Duckworth went into the race with a substantial lead, earning 13.3 percent more than Kirk in the Real Clear polling average. Duckworth led by 18 percent in the final poll in the race published Monday by Emerson University.
Political Statistician Nate Silver predicted Duckworth would take the race, giving the Democratic nominee a 97.1 percent chance of defeating Kirk. The UVA Center for Politics agreed, giving the Illinois Senate race a “likely Democratic” rating. The race is one of four the center projected Democrats taking from Republicans. The other races include Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.
Kirk won the Republican primary by a little over 70 percent, or 931,619 individual votes. Duckworth only won by 64.4 percent in the Democratic primary, but earned 1,220,128 votes.
The pair squared off in a single debate in the race. Kirk struck hard at Duckworth’s immigration policy, as well as her support for free college tuition.
“My opponent, her primary spending plan is to offer free stuff like free college.” Kirk said during the debate, asserting Duckworth’s plan would cost over $60 billion before adding, “only cost $25 billion to get to the moon.”
“I don’t think it’s a giveaway. I don’t think it’s a handout. I don’t think it’s an entitlement,” Duckworth responded.
Kirk was forced to apologize for his comments about the Democratic representative’s Thai heritage. Duckworth had asserted she was proud of the fact that her family fought in the revolution alongside President George Washington. “I’d forgotten your parents came all of the way from Thailand to serve George Washington,” Kirk shot back.
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