Kathy Salvi wins GOP race for U.S. Senate nomination to take on Tammy Duckworth

In a video posted to Twitter a few hours before the polls closed, Salvi told her supporters she was “the only Republican who can defeat Tammy Duckworth in the fall.”

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Lake County assistant public defender Kathy Salvi, speaking at Knights of Columbus Hall in Lake Zurich on primary election night, was on top of a field of seven candidates in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Lake County assistant public defender Kathy Salvi, speaking at Knights of Columbus Hall in Lake Zurich on primary election night, was on top of a field of seven candidates in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Allison Novelo/For the Sun-Times

Mundelein attorney Kathy Salvi on Tuesday won a crowded race for the Republican party’s nod to take on first-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

Salvi took a strong, early lead in the seven-candidate race after the polls closed, though her nearest opponent, Peggy Hubbard of Belleville, spent the night trying to close the gap. With 94% of precincts reporting, Salvi had 30.5% of the vote, to Hubbard’s 24.5%.

Also seeking the nomination were Casey Chlebek, Robert “Bobby” Piton, Jimmy Lee Tillman II, Anthony W. Williams and Matthew “Matt” Dubiel. Dubiel and Chlebek were the only other candidates breaking double-digits; Dubiel had 12.7% of the vote, and Chlebek had 10.6%.

“The people of this great state want a fighter in Washington, D.C.,” Salvi told supporters gathered at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Lake Zurich. “They want a common-sense leader who will defend American families, restore American prosperity, and protect the American dream for our children and grandchildren.”

Campaign manager Stephanie Hitt told the Sun-Times that Salvi “is the only solid conservative in this thing.” Though Salvi’s husband, Al, told the Sun-Times that Salvi wouldn’t answer questions Tuesday, Hitt said, “Kathy is a committed conservative who is pro-life. She also believes in limited government and reduced regulation …She believes in some measures of gun reform, but she is a supporter of the NRA.”

“Her goal is to be a common-sense conservative and she is certainly one of the very first to admit that she’s willing to walk across the aisle with bagels and coffee if that’s what it takes,” Hitt said. “But that doesn’t mean that she’s willing to compromise. It does mean that she’s willing to engage in dialogue and persuade.”

Lake County Commissioner Catherine Sbarra, who attended Salvi’s election-night gathering, said she has confidence in Salvi’s prospects in November.

“Kathy Salvi comes from a very strong family background,” Sbarra said. “She definitely has the power to make things happen because of it.”

Salvi lost a six-way 2006 GOP primary bid for Congress. Hubbard also fell short in a bid for her party’s nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin two years ago.

A Sun-Times/WBEZ Poll earlier this month showed the race for the Republican Senate nomination wide open, with only Salvi and Hubbard registering double-digit support, at 10% each.

That poll also found 67% of the state’s GOP voters believed Donald Trump won the 2020 election, a view more in line with Piton of Geneva, who has continued to call for a “full nationwide audit” of the 2020 election and “new elections for every politician that is wrongfully in their position.”

But Salvi has also argued “one-party rule” in Springfield and Washington, D.C., “has done serious damage to Illinois families and businesses. Partisan politics and radical agendas prevail over the best interests of the people of Illinois.”

Hubbard called herself “the Washington Elite’s worst nightmare” and “a Navy veteran, former police officer, Harley Davidson enthusiast, and a Republican who boldly speaks the truth.”

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