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Krishnamoorthi wins Democratic primary for Duckworth’s seat

Businessman Raja Krishnamoorth. File Photo. (Bob Chwedyk/Daily Herald via AP)

While U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth won the Democratic primary to move up to the Senate on Tuesday, small businessman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg easily captured the party’s nomination to replace Duckworth in the House.

With 59 percent of precincts counted in a three-way race, Krishnamoorthi had nearly 60 percent of the vote, far ahead of state Sen. Michael Noland of Elgin with about 28 percent and Villa Park Village President Deborah Bullwinkel with 12 percent.

To represent the state’s 8th Congressional District, though, the winner of the Democratic primary still must overcome Republican Peter DiCianni. He’s the DuPage County board member and former Elmhurst mayor who was unopposed in Tuesday’s GOP primary for the seat being vacated by Duckworth.

Krishnamoorthi said he knew little about DiCianni but noted the GOP ticket in the fall general election likely would be topped by Donald Trump — whose policies are “completely at odds with what the people of the 8th District want.”

“Instead of buildings walls, we should be building bridges,” Krishnamoorthi, an Indian-born immigrant, said in reference to Trump’s promise to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

DiCianni said he has the endorsements of 26 mayors and can win back the seat for the GOP. He said he stayed out of the presidential race.

“Regardless of who wins for president, the race will be between him and I,” DiCianni said of Krishnamoorthi.Krishnamoorthi’s win Tuesday came four years after he lost to Duckworth in a primary fight in the northwest suburban congressional district.

Krishnamoorthi enjoyed a huge lead in fundraising over his two rivals in Tuesday’s election, reporting a total of nearly $1.7 million in campaign contributions through Feb. 24, records show. That amount was more than four times the combined total raised by Noland and Bullwinkel.

Krishnamoorthi, 42, was born in New Delhi but came to this country as an infant and grew up in Peoria. He has an engineering degree from Princeton University and a law degree from Harvard University.

He worked for Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan and as a deputy state treasurer. But he lost in the 2012 primary in the 8th District and also failed in the 2011 Democratic primary for Illinois comptroller.

“We won over a lot of folks who cast votes for Tammy Duckworth four years ago because we maintained a civil and respectful contest last time,” said Krishnamoorthi, who is president of Sivananthan Labs and Episola Inc.

In another suburban congressional race, AP declared Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam the winner over primary challenger Jay Kinzler.

With 42 percent of precincts reporting, Roskam had received nearly 70 percent of the vote.

Roskam has represented the 6th District since beating Duckworth for the seat vacated by veteran Congressman Henry Hyde in 2006.

Also Tuesday, in the 11th District, three Republicans were fighting a close battle for the right to try to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster in the November general election.

With 79 percent of the precincts counted, DuPage County board member Tonia Khouri of Aurora had inched ahead of Nick Stella, a doctor from Darien. Khouri had 37 percent to Stella’s 36 percent, while Herman White, a physicist from Naperville, was garnering about 26 percent.

In the 14th District, where Democrats were vying to win the nomination for the seat occupied by Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, salesman Jim Walz jumped out to an early lead.