United States Senate election in Illinois, 1998

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United States Senate election in Illinois, 1998
← 1992 November 3, 1998 2004 →
  Peter Fitzgerald cropped.jpg Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.jpg
Nominee Peter Fitzgerald Carol Moseley Braun
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,709,042 1,610,496
Percentage 50.4% 47.4%

Illinois Senate election by county, 1998.png
U.S. Senate election results map.
Red denotes counties won by Fitzgerald.
Blue denotes those won by Moseley Braun.

U.S. Senator before election

Carol Moseley Braun

Elected U.S. Senator

Peter Fitzgerald

The 1998 United States Senate election in Illinois was held November 3, 1998. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun decided to run for re-election, despite the number of controversies that she had in during her first term. Republican State Senator Peter Fitzgerald won his party's primary with a slim margin of victory.

He ended up defeating the incumbent, with a margin of victory of approximately 3%. Peter Fitzgerald won all but five counties.

Major candidates[edit]




During Moseley Braun's first term as U.S. Senator, she was plagued by several major controversies. Moseley Braun was the subject of a 1993 Federal Elections Commission investigation over $249,000 in unaccounted-for campaign funds. The agency found some small violations, but took no action against Moseley Braun, citing a lack of resources. Moseley Braun only admitted to bookkeeping errors. The Justice Department turned down two requests for investigations from the IRS.[1]

In 1996, Moseley Braun made a private trip to Nigeria, where she met with dictator Sani Abacha. Despite U.S. sanctions against that country, due to Abacha's actions, the Senator did not notify, nor register her trip with, the State Department. She subsequently defended Abacha's human rights records in Congress.[2]

Peter Fitzgerald, a State Senator, won the Republican primary, defeating Illinois Comptroller Loleta Didrickson with 51.8% of the vote, to Didrickson's 48.2%.[3] Fitzgerald spent nearly $7 million in the Republican primary.[4] He had a major financial advantage, as he was a multimillionaire. He ended up spending $12 million in his election victory.[5]

In September, Moseley Braun created controversy again by using the word Nigger to describe how she claims to be a victim of racism.[5]

Most polls over the first few months showed Moseley-Braun trailing badly. However, after she was helped in the final month by notable Democrats such as First Lady Hillary Clinton and U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez, three polls published in the last week showed her within the margin of error, and, in one poll, running even with Fitzgerald.[6]


The incumbent Moseley Braun was narrowly defeated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald. Moseley Braun only won four of Illinois's 102 counties. Despite this, the race was kept close by Moseley running up massive margins in Cook County, home of Chicago. However it wasn't quite enough to win. Fitzgerald would only serve one term in the senate. Fitzgerald initially intended to run for a second term.

However, after many Republicans and Democrats announced their intentions to run, Fitzgerald decided to retire. Fitzgerald would serve from January 3, 1999 to January 3, 2005. On January 3, 2005, Fitzgerald was replaced by Democrat Barack Obama.

Illinois United States Senate election, 1998[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Peter Fitzgerald 1,709,041[8] 50.35%[8] +7.4%
Democratic Carol Moseley Braun (Incumbent) 1,610,496[8] 47.44%[8] -5.6%
Reform Don Torgersen 74,704[8] 2.20%[8] 0.00%
US Taxpayers Raymond Stalker 280[8] 0.01%[8] 0.00%
Majority 98,545 2.91% 0.00%
Turnout 3,394,521
Republican gain from Democratic Swing

See also[edit]