Obama Wins U.S. Senate Primary
Obama ’83, Illinois state senator for the 13th district
on Chicago’s South Side, won the Democratic primary for the
U.S. Senate over six rivals on March 16. He will oppose Republican
Jack Ryan in the general election in November for a Senate seat
being vacated by Peter Fitzgerald, a Republican who is retiring
after one term.
Obama received 55 percent of the vote in the Democratic Primary.
His nearest opponent, state Comptroller Dan Hynes, drew 23 percent.
“I think it’s fair to say the conventional wisdom was
we could not win,” Obama told his cheering supporters following
the primary victory. “We didn’t have enough money. We
didn’t have enough organization. There was no way that a skinny
guy from the South Side with a funny name like Barack Obama could
ever win a statewide race. Sixteen months later, we are here.”
Obama, 42, was a political science major at the College and went
on to Harvard Law School, where he was the first African-American
president of the Harvard Law Review. He is a civil rights attorney
specializing in employment discrimination, fair housing and voting
rights legislation and teaches civil rights law and other subjects
at the University of Chicago.
If he wins in November, Obama would become the only African-American
in the U.S. Senate and only the third black U.S. Senator since Reconstruction.
Alex Sachare ’71