Two years ago, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth was a contender to be President Joe Biden’s running mate.
On Tuesday, Duckworth won a second term in the Senate by defeating political newcomer and Republican lawyer Kathy Salvi, according to The Associated Press.
“I will never forget the people I’ve met over the past six years as your senator. Your stories, your struggles, your hopes are what have fueled my determination to make your tomorrow better than your today,” Duckworth said Tuesday night. “Sure, I know that that won’t be easy. I know there are still some folks seeking to sow seeds of division among us. I know that we’re a Union that, yes, at times has been anything but united. But the miracle of America is that when it looks like those worst instincts are set to prevail, we come together and resist. We refuse to give in to that darkness.”
Duckworth had 2,108,306 votes, or nearly 57%, while Salvi, of Mundelein, had 1,539,710, or 41.5% and Libertarian Bill Redpath had 64,539, or nearly 2%, with 79% of the vote counted, according to unofficial vote totals.
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.”
Duckworth, 54, and Salvi, 63, are on opposite sides of the political spectrum and hold opposing views on most issues — including guns and abortion rights.
Duckworth, a Purple Heart recipient, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. Before that, she served two terms in the U.S. House, was an assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and headed Illinois’ Department of Veterans Affairs. In April 2018, Duckworth became the first senator to give birth while in office.
Salvi is a former assistant public defender in the Lake County Public Defender’s Office and is a partner in the private law firm, Salvi & Maher. Redpath, who lives in West Dundee, is a certified public accountant and managing director of a financial consulting firm.
In a tweet Tuesday night, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said he “couldn’t be more proud” of Duckworth.
“Together, we’re going to keep fighting for working families across Illinois,” Durbin said in the tweet.
Duckworth held a significant financial lead throughout the campaign. As of Oct. 19, Duckworth had raised almost $18.4 million and had almost $6 million on hand, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission. Salvi had raised $1.2 million, including $480,000 of her own money, and had $166,000 on hand. Redpath had raised about $75,000 and had about $1,200 on hand, according to the FEC.
Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, said during a recent Illinois Associated Press Media Editors forum she would support making a law cementing the abortion rights that were included in the Roe vs. Wade case the U.S. Supreme Court overturned this year.
“The majority of Americans support a woman’s right to make her own decisions about abortion between herself and her doctor with a 24-week viability restriction,” Duckworth said. “There are women who are facing cancer treatment but can’t get access to an abortion so they can have their cancer treated. This is inhumane.”
Salvi, who agrees with the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter, said Duckworth is an “extremist” on abortion.
“There isn’t an abortion she doesn’t support,” Salvi said of Duckworth.
Duckworth, who lost her legs in 2004 when the Blackhawk helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down in Iraq, also said she supported reinstating a ban on assault rifles as well as a ban on high-capacity magazines.
“I carried an M16 for 23 years in the military,” she said. “I know what those weapons are supposed to do. They are supposed to shred a human body. They don’t belong on the streets.”
Salvi did not say whether she would support such a ban but that existing laws need to be followed.
“Before we consider passing any new and additional laws, we should let the laws that are on the book be implemented and employed,” Salvi said. “The only thing holding us back in this state is poor single-party government, and it’s hurting; it’s crushing us here.”
In the Senate, Duckworth is a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.
Capitol News Illinois and The Associated Press contributed