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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 19:54 GMT
Iraq war veteran wins US primary
Tammy Duckworth
Ms Duckworth thanked "buddies who pulled me out" of Iraq
An Iraq war veteran who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down has won the chance to run for Congress in the US mid-term elections in November.

Major Tammy Duckworth, 38, narrowly won the Democratic primary nomination for a Chicago district held by retiring Republican Henry Hyde.

Ms Duckworth is prominent among about a dozen - mostly Democratic - Iraq and Afghan war vets running for office.

Democrats want to gain credibility on security issues with the electorate.

Thanks 'to my buddies'

Ms Duckworth won 43.5% of votes in primary election, with 96% of District Three precincts reporting and was three points ahead of her closest rival, the Chicago Tribune newspaper reported.

A US Army National Guard helicopter pilot in Iraq, Ms Duckworth lost both legs when her aircraft was shot down in November 2004.

She expressed her thanks "to my buddies who pulled me out of that field in Iraq, to the medical professionals who saved my life and taught me to walk again, to the many volunteers who worked so hard throughout this campaign".

Democrats hope to make inroads into Republican's control of the Senate and the House of Representatives in November, taking advantage of public concerns over Iraq and scandals that have hit the Republican Party.

In addition to Ms Duckworth, they have recruited a number of other Iraq veterans for election races across the US.

They include army reservist Justin Behrens (running in Pennsylvania), Andrew Duck (Maryland) who served as an army intelligence officer, Marine reservist Tim Dunn (North Carolina) Army reservist David Harris (Texas) and former Marine officer Andrew Horne (Kentucky).

Also running are Bronze Star winner Patrick Murphy (Pennsylvania), Joseph Sestak Jr (Pennsylvania) a Navy veteran, and Tim Walz (Minnesota) who served in Italy in support of the Afghan mission.

Van Taylor - a marine reservist who participated in the operation to rescue Pte Jessica Lynch - is running for the Republican ticket in a Texas district.

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