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Kwame Raoul Defeats Erika Harold For Illinois Attorney General

Chicago (CBS) -- Kwame Raoul has defeated Erika Harold For Illinois Attorney General.

Raoul, a Democrat, and Harold, a Republican, were vying to replace Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who announced last year that she would not be seeking a fifth term in office.

Raoul addressed his supporters Tuesday night.

"This campaign was just an audition for the work that is yet to come," he said. "I've worked on voting rights, I've worked on access to healthcare, woman's right to choose. It's the work of my life but i'm just getting started."

RELATED: Complete Illinois Election Results 

Raoul, a Democratic state senator from Chicago, who was appointed to the Illinois General Assembly in 2004 to replace Barack Obama as he headed to the U.S. Senate, has touted his experience as a lawmaker and former Cook County prosecutor.

In a sign of how tight the race had become as Election Day neared, Raoul reported receiving a $1 million donation from House Speaker Michael Madigan's campaign fund on Friday.

Harold, an attorney from Urbana, was Miss America in 2003, and used her winnings to pay for Harvard Law School. She ran for Congress in 2014, but lost to Rodney Davis in the Republican primary.

Harold thanked to her supporters and congratulated Raoul Tuesday night.

"Even though it did not go our way tonight, there were still so many things we were able to accomplish, " Harold stated. "We were still able to send such a strong message of what we want to see the government of Illinois look like."

One of the most hotly contested races on the ballot this year, the race also has been a study in contrasts.

Raoul has described the attorney general's office as a "last line of defense" against Trump administration policies.

Harold, on the other hand, has she would make fighting public corruption a priority if elected, and said if J.B. Pritzker were elected governor, she would serve as a check on Democratic Party control of the governor's office and legislature.

Raoul pledged to use the attorney general's office to defend the Affordable Care Act from efforts to dismantle it, has voted in favor of same-sex marriage, and has supported a bill to provide state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions.

Harold, on the other hand, has backed repealing the Affordable Care Act, is pro-life, and in a 2014 candidate survey indicated she supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Harold has said abortion rights and same-sex marriage are "settled law," and said her personal views would not impact her obligation as attorney general to uphold the law. Raoul, however, has said a shift in the U.S. Supreme Court could lead to changes in abortion rights and same-sex marriage, so an attorney general's personal views are important.

Raoul has repeatedly criticized Harold for reportedly stating in a 2000 Miss America pageant interview about adoption that she would place a child with heterosexual child abusers than with a loving same-sex couple. Harold has said she does not remember saying that, but if she did, it was wrong; and she has said she supports same-sex adoptions and same-sex foster parenting.

Harold has said her socially conservative views are irrelevant, stating she would not have the power to change state or federal laws as attorney general.

Read More:

Candidate Q & A: Illinois Attorney General Republican Candidate Erika Harold

Harold: "He's someone who has marched lockstep with speaker Madigan on the key issues of the day, whether it's voting to raise his own pay, voting to raise taxes or voting to allow (former Illinois Governor Rod) Blagojevich to skip pension payments. He's not been somebody who's stood up to be able to stand up on the side of the people as opposed to taking on the political class."

Candidate Q & A: Illinois Attorney General Democratic Candidate Kwame Raoul

Raoul: "I think what's at stake in this race is whether or not they'll be a last line of defense from within this state against the policies coming from the White House. Who we elect as attorney general, not only in the state of Illinois, but throughout the country, matters now more than at any time in American history."


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