“Let me say how grateful I am to all of you for theextraordinary privilege of standing here!” shouted Barack Obama,43, at his victory rally in Chicago. Obama was one of ahandful of blacks running for senate this year, and became the onlyAfrican American elected to the senate, defeating conservativeAfrican American Republican Alan Keyes.
Obama’s victory came as nosurprise. He defeated Keyes by 70 points and secured amuch-needed seat for the Democrats in the Republican controlledSenate. Obama is a rising star in the Democratic Party, andmany believe he has potential to run for president on a democraticticket.
“Barack Obama’s importance to our partyand our effort to recapture the United States Senate simply cannotbe overstated,” Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for the DemocraticSenatorial Campaign Committee told the Associated Press.
Obama has become such a popular figure withinhis party that he was recruited on over 12 occasions to campaignfor Senator John Kerry, the former Democratic nominee forPresident.
Jack Ryan was the original republicancandidate for Senate in Illinois; however, he quickly withdrew fromthe race upon the release of damaging allegations made during hisdivorce proceedings. The Republicans chose to nominate Keyes,despite the fact that he is not an Illinois resident. Keyesspoke out against Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign for aNew York seat because she was not from New York, convincing somevoters that Keyes is a hypocrite.
Obama is only the third African American tohold a seat in the senate in 150 years.