Duckworth wins contentious Democratic primary in IL-06

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Map of the 6th district

In one of the most contentious Democratic primary races of the season, Iraqi war veteran Tammy Duckworth garnered 44% of the vote in the 6th Illinois congressional district, beating out Christine Cegalis (40%) and Lindy Scott (16%). Duckworth's victory earns her a spot in the race against Republican state Senator Peter Roskam, who won the Republican nomination to replace retiring Congressman Henry Hyde.

Cegalis ran for the seat in 2004, garnering 44% of the vote, the best achieved by a Democrat against Hyde. Working off of momentum gathered in that race, she continued to increase her grassroots organization and her Internet campaigning to gain support from Democrats across the nation. Cegalis, a software engineer, was running unopposed for the nomination until Duckworth joined the race in December. Supported by the Democratic establishment, Duckworth quickly out-fundraised her opponents, receiving support from prominent Democrats such as John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emmanual, and Barack Obama.

The race became strongly contested between self-proclaimed progressive activists supporting Cegalis and Democrats who preferred to work with the party candidate. Duckworth, who lost her legs in Iraq in 2004, received a strong showing of support from outside the district, including large fundraisers in New York and Chicago.

Scott, a former pastor of an evangelical church in Des Plains, attempted to paint the race in religious terms. His campaign was run on the principle that he could win votes through his moderate, religious views, which he said would attract Republican voters in the district.