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GOP Primary Candidates Line Up to Challenge Incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth

June 2, 2022

The GOP primary field is crowded with those seeking to challenge U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, as her first six-year term draws to a close.

Duckworth is running unopposed, meaning that, unless someone drops out of the race, whoever wins the Republican primary vote on June 28 will face off against Duckworth in the Nov. 8 general election.

Duckworth, an Army veteran and former director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, is projected by some to win. The race is rated as solidly Democratic by Cook Political Report, a non-partisan group that analyzes federal elections.

What Republicans are running?

Chlebek

Casey Chlebek is a former information technology professional who worked at Aldens, Zenith Radio Corp., and Northern Trust Bank. Since leaving IT, he has worked with several civic and Polish-American organizations. Chlebek made an unsuccessful run for Sen. Dick Durbin’s seat in 2020, losing the Republican primary with 5.6% of the vote.

Chlebek identified key areas of his agenda at a forum with the conservative group Illinois Family Action. These priorities include investing in emerging technologies like 5G as well as creating safer communities “without crime, without delusional CRT (critical race theory), without open borders,” according to a press release from his campaign.

Matthew Dubiel is the general manager of WCKG, a radio station based in Elmhurst. Dubiel entered the race with a focus on educational issues. He is one of the signatories of the Awake Illinois Parents Bill of Rights pledge.

Matt Dubiel

Dubiel said in his response to an SJ-R candidate questionnaire that he hopes people will “rally behind” him as others have rallied behind Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Peggy Hubbard is a Navy veteran, former police officer, and retired IRS analyst. Like Chlebek, Hubbard also ran unsuccessfully in the 2020 Senate election, coming in second in the primary with 22.9% of the vote.

Peggy Hubbard

Robert “Bobby” Piton is the founder of PreActive Investments, an investment firm based in St. Charles. Piton has appeared at events with Michael Flynn, a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory who said former President Donald Trump should suspend the U.S. Constitution.

Bobby Piton

“We should make executions for treason great again,” said Piton at a November 2021 event where he alleged widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Kathy Salvi is a personal injury lawyer from Chicago. Salvi previously ran for Congress in Illinois’ 8th congressional district in 2006, though she lost a six-way Republican primary. Salvi’s husband is former state Rep. Al Salvi, who lost to Durbin in the 1996 U.S. Senate election.

Kathy Salvi

“I am running for U.S. Senate to restore faith in our government and provide Illinoisans the leadership they deserve,” said Salvi in a statement when she launched her campaign. “The policies of the radical left have failed our children in the classroom, made our communities less safe, and forced many businesses to close.”

Jimmy Lee Tillman II is the son of musician Jimmy Lee Tillman and former longtime Chicago Ald. Dorothy Tillman. Tillman is a perennial candidate, having also run in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 in the Republican primaries for Illinois’ 1st U.S. House district. U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush won each of those elections.

Jimmy Lee Tillman II

“The Illinois GOP is tired of losing,” said Tillman in an April statement. “They want to win! They are tired of sending candidates to Cook County without a chance.”

Anthony Williams is a pastor at King International Minstry United Church of Christ in Chicago and has been an advocate for gun violence reduction.

In June of last year, he made headlines when he walked from Chicago to Washington, D.C. as a way to call for an end to nationwide gun violence.

Williams unsuccessfully ran in the 2013 special election for the U.S. House Second District. He ran as a Democrat and earned 1.1% of the vote in the primary.

In addition to Duckworth and the Republican candidates, the Libertarian party has also fielded someone for the race: Chicago accountant Bill Redpath. He is the managing director of the Chicago office of Summit Ridge Group, where he does business valuations in the media and telecommunications industries.

Bill Redpath

“The two-party system fails to provide voters with a sufficient number of political choices,” wrote Redpath in his response to SJ-R’s candidate questionnaire.

The primary is June 28. The election is on Nov. 8.

Voters will have two opportunities to cast ballots for someone to represent them in Congress. The first vote on June 28 is the primary election, where voters from each party select who appears on the ballot in the fall. In Illinois, anyone can vote in a primary, though you can only vote in contests from one party. On Nov. 8, all voters will be asked to select the election’s winners from between candidates of different parties.

Jon

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