Iraq War Vet Tammy Duckworth Defeats GOP Sen. Mark Kirk, Who Mocked Her Mixed Race Background

On election night, Illinois saw huge news in a hotly contested race. Tammy Duckworth is projected to win in the Illinois U.S. Senate race against GOP incumbent Mark Kirk. The win ends a contentious campaign that saw Kirk make a questionable remark about her mixed-race heritage. Duckworth takes back the seat that was previously had by President Obama and the state’s two senators are now Democrats.

The race between Duckworth and Kirk had been one that was closely watched by the country, as it was one of half-dozen Senate races that gave insight into whether Republicans were going to hold onto their majority. CBS Chicago reported that most of Duckworth’s support came from non-whites (85 percent) and women (62 percent), while Kirk’s major source of support came from white men (57 percent).

While this may have just seemed like any old race, it became national news following an awkward comment that Kirk made about Duckworth’s mixed-race heritage during a debate. Duckworth, who is a veteran like Kirk, said her family’s military service goes back as far as the Revolution, to which Kirk rebutted with “[your] parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.” The gaffe hurt Kirks’ chances and ended up with Duckworth taking President Obama’s former Senate seat. Obama gave his own seal of approval saying, “She is going to be a great senator for Illinois,” Obama told attendees. “I cannot think of a better person to represent this state that I love.”