Election 2020

Dems Claim First GOP Senate Seat as Duckworth Defeats Kirk

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) answers questions during a debate with Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Oct. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) brought down the first GOP Senate seat of the evening by defeating Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

With 28 percent of precincts reporting, Duckworth topped Kirk 64-31 percent.

Duckworth, who served as a helicopter pilot and lost both of her legs in Iraq, led the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs before being elected to the House.

Kirk apologized after a jab at Duckworth’s ethnicity in a Senate debate at the end of October. Duckworth had said “my family has served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution” — her father, a U.S. Marine veteran, traced his lineage back to the American Revolution; her mother is of Thai ethnicity.

“I forgot your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington,” Kirk said to her.

After the debate, the senator took to Twitter with “sincere apologies to an American hero, Tammy Duckworth, and gratitude for her family’s service.”

Kirk won the special election to fill Barack Obama’s seat after he was elected president. He suffered a stroke in 2012 and, after grueling rehab, climbed the Senate steps with the assistance of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to return to work in January 2013.