CHICAGO — Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth has announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate against Republican Mark Kirk.
“I’m running for the United States Senate in 2016 because it’s time for Washington to be held accountable and to put Illinois’ families and communities first,” Duckworth said in a YouTube video posted Monday. “I look forward to visiting your community soon, and if you elect me as Illinois’ Senator, I will fight my heart out to represent you with honor and integrity.”
Duckworth’s announcement sets up one of the most competitive Senate races in the nation in 2016.
She is an Iraq war veteran and double amputee who was elected to the House in 2012. Kirk is in his first term and intends to focus his campaign in part on his recovery from a stroke that has left him relying on a wheelchair.
Illinois is Democrat-friendly territory and the campaign could represent one of the best opportunities for Democrats to pick up a seat as they battle to regain Senate control.
A Kirk for Senate spokesman released the following statement in response to Duckworth’s announcement:
“Senator Mark Kirk has served as a voice for all the people of Illinois throughout his time in the Congress. He works across the aisle to take on the Veterans Administration for corruption and mistreatment of our returning heroes in Illinois, cut spending and block Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Senator Kirk looks forward to a conversation on the issues that matter most to voters across the state including his proven record of thoughtful, independent leadership, and his work each and every day to serve Illinois families.”