SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Seven candidates are seeking the Republican nomination in the primary Tuesday for U.S. Senate in Illinois, with the winner taking on incumbent Democrat Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
Duckworth, 54, a wounded Iraqi war veteran and popular politician, is unopposed in the primary. She will be the clear favorite as she seeks a second term in November in a place where Democrats control all statewide offices and voters twice rejected President Donald Trump by double digits. Of 34 Senate races nationwide, the Cook Political Report puts her chances among just 10 it ranks as "Solid D" for a likely Democratic win.
While Illinois has elected GOP senators in the recent past, Duckworth defeated the most recent Republican to hold a seat - moderate Sen. Mark Kirk - by more than 10 points in 2016.
Kathy Salvi, a former Lake County assistant public defender and an unsuccessful congressional candidate in 2006, has led the pack of Republicans during the primary campaign in terms of exposure and money raised. She campaigned on a pledge to work to unify her party and maintains Duckworth is beatable because the fall election will be a vote about the success or failure of the Biden administration. Salvi, 63, of Mundelein, works in a Chicago-area law firm alongside her husband, Al, a former state lawmaker.
Peggy Hubbard, 58, a southwest Illinois political activist who attended the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and promotes the false claim that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election, also is running. The Belleville resident is a Navy veteran and former police officer. Her campaign material labels her as "unbought and unbossed."
Two other Republicans running have been on the ballot in previous elections - the Rev. Anthony Williams, 67, of Dolton, and Jimmy Lee Tillman II, a Trump supporter and the son of former Chicago Alderwoman Dorothy Tillman.
Also running are Robert "Bobby" Piton of Geneva, the managing partner of an investment services company in St. Charles; Casey Chlebek, 73, a Polish-born real estate business owner and the former president of the Illinois division of the Polish American Congress; and Matthew Dubiel, 45, owner of radio station WCKG-AM in Elmhurst.
Trump has not endorsed anyone in the race.