Confirming rumours that circulated through much of the weekend, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-8) became the first Democrat to announced a Senatorial bid for 2016. In a video released today, Duckworth declared her plans to challenge sitting Republican Senator Mark Kirk.
Duckworth is a political wonk fan-favourite who has spent her career — including her last two terms in Congress — championing veterans’ rights. An Iraq War veteran, Duckworth has also advocated for women’s rights and gun control. With her election to Congress, Duckworth became the House’s first female double amputee, its first Asian American Congressperson from Illinois, and its first Thai American member.
In the two-minute video announcing her 2016 Senate bid, Duckworth says:
“I’m running for the United States Senate in 2016 because it’s time for Washington to be held accountable and put Illinois’ families and communities first. If you elect me as Illinois’ senator I will fight my heart out to represent you with honor and integrity.”
Republicans quickly rushed to denounce Duckworth, declaring her closely-tied to beleagured Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich, who appointed Duckworth a high-ranking position overseeing Illinois’ veterans’ affairs during his administration. The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a statement also calling Duckworth a “partisan” and criticizing her for voting along the same lines as Nancy Pelosi.
However, the New York Times interviewed political analysts who gave Duckworth favourable odds for dethroning Senator Kirk, given her own popularity as well as her upcoming run occurring during a presidential election cycle in a strongly Democratic state.
If elected next year (and if no other Asian American declares or wins a Senatorial campaign), Duckworth would join Senator Mazie Hirono as the Senate’s only sitting Asian American senators. She would be the Senate’s second Asian American female senator, the first Thai American senator, and the first Asian American senator to hail from a state located anywhere east of Nevada.
She’s also just continue to be awesome.
To support Tammy Duckworth’s Senate campaign, you can follow her on Twitter at @RepDuckworth, the Twitter account for Duckworth’s Congressional office, and contribute to her Senatorial campaign at TammyDuckworth.com.