The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Rep. Tammy Duckworth Thursday in a contested Democratic primary in Illinois — a top Democratic pickup opportunity in 2016.
“Tammy Duckworth has spent her life serving this nation and the state of Illinois, and she has a proven record of advocating for veterans, women and working families," DSCC Chairman Jon Tester said in a news release. "Tammy’s incredible story reflects her persistence and tenacity, even when the odds are stacked against her, and she brings that same determination to her work on behalf of her constituents every single day. We are excited to support Tammy and we are confident that she will be an outstanding Senator for the State of Illinois.”
Duckworth faces a primary against former Chicago Urban League CEO Andrea Zopp.
Both are looking to take on GOP Sen. Mark S. Kirk, arguably the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election in 2016.
Kirk faces voters in a state President Barack Obama carried twice, each by double-digit margins. And so far, Kirk's seat is the only one the Rothenberg & Gonzalez Political Report /Roll Call projects to flip less than a year from Election Day.
Democrats have said Duckworth's profile as a double-amputee war veteran from the Chicago suburbs makes her the best challenger to Kirk . Kirk himself is disabled, still suffering from the effects of a massive stroke he had in 2012.
Duckworth announced she raised $1.2 million in the second quarter and had $2.2 million in cash on hand. Zopp, on the other hand, raised $665,000.
Kirk raised $1.35 million in the second quarter, and has $3.2 million in cash on hand.
The DSCC has endorsed in a handful of other top Senate contests as Democrats attempt to net the five seats necessary to ensure Senate control. Other endorsed candidates include Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida, former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada and former Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio.
Related: Tammy Duckworth Announces Illinois Senate Bid (Updated) Democrats Maneuver for Illinois House Seat Tammy Duckworth: I’m ‘Taking a Real Serious Look’ at Senate Run Kirk Starts 2016 as an Underdog First Senate Race Ratings Revealed Mark Kirk: ‘No Frickin’ Way Am I Retiring’ Kirk Vs. Duckworth for Senate in 2016? Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016 Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.