Tammy Duckworth, the Democratic nominee for Illinois' 8th congressional district, celebrates Nov. 6 with her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, after defeating Rep. Joe Walsh in Elk Grove Village, Ill. (Paul Beaty / The Associated Press)
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CHICAGO — Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth has defeated freshman tea party Rep. Joe Walsh for a suburban Chicago congressional seat.
Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran who left her job in the Obama administration's Department of Veterans Affairs to run for Congress.
The race has been one of most closely watched nationwide as both parties identified it as high priority. The 8th District covers several Chicago suburbs and is one of the most racially diverse on the newly-drawn congressional map.
Duckworth outraised and outspent Walsh, who first took office in 2010. But outside groups spent millions on ads against Duckworth and for Walsh.
Duckworth made an unsuccessful bid in 2006 in another district.
Walsh won office in 2010 by a slim margin. He has been a staunch critic of President Obama.