New Member: Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi Elected in Illinois’ 8th District

Seat opened after incumbent Rep. Tammy Duckworth left to run for Senate

Raja Krishnamoorthi, Democrat candidate for Illinois’ 8th Congressional district, is projected to win by the Associated Press. (JM Rieger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi will defeat Republican Peter DiCianni in Illinois’ 8th District, The Associated Press projects.

Krishnamoorthi led DiCianni 60 percent to 40 percent with 80 percent of precincts reporting.

[Election Results 2016]

Two-term Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth vacated the seat for a successful Senate run against incumbent Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk.

Illinois’s 8th District includes the northern suburbs of Chicago, covering portions of Kane, DuPage and Cook counties.

Duckworth had no trouble winning re-election in 2014 in the Democratic-trending district. Coming into Election Day, the race was rated Safe Democrat by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.

Krishnamoorthi, who lost to Duckworth in the 2012 Democratic primary for this seat, won the March 15 Democratic primary this year, with 57 percent of the vote against two other candidates.

[Faces of the 115th Congress: Raja Krishnamoorthi ]

He succceeds fellow Asian-American Duckworth in the district which has the state’s highest proportion of Asian residents (13 percent). His Indian origins are also still a rarity in Congress.

Krishnamoorthi’s family moved to Buffalo, New York, in the mid-1970s. Because of its economic struggles, the family lived for a time in public housing and on food stamps. Krishnamoorthi eventually grew up in Peoria, Illinois, where his father became a professor at Bradley University.

He went on to earn a mechanical engineering degree from Princeton and later graduated from Harvard Law School. He also worked as a low-level staffer on Barack Obama’s losing House campaign in 2000, and as issues director for Obama’s successful 2004 campaign for the Senate.  

Krishnamoorthi is likely to be a mainstream Democrat who may reach across the aisle.

“As a small businessperson, I’ll be able to talk to my colleagues in a real granular way about how hard it is to start and grow a small business,” he said.

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