Democratic U.S. Senate candidates face off in ABC7 debate

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Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth faced off against former Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp and State Senator Napoleon Harris. (WLS)

The Democratic race for U.S. Senate is one of the hottest contests in the upcoming March primary. All three candidates faced off at ABC7 on Friday night.

WATCH: Democratic U.S. Senate debate at ABC7 studios

Because the ABC7 debate is the only one of its kind scheduled, candidate Andrea Zopp took advantage and launched a wide-ranging attack against Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.

"Congresswoman Duckworth is a creature of Washington," Zopp said. "The fact is, she's done very little during her time in Congress."

The former Urban League president found a way to blast frontrunner Duckworth on virtually every issue debated.

The war hero and northwest suburban congresswoman did not respond to most of it.

"I've been shot at before. Trust me, I can take it," Duckworth said.

State Sen. Napoleon Harris - the former pro football player and restaurant owner - focused on his own candidacy and background.

"As a young African-American male I can understand these issues all too well," Harris said.

Zopp took fire for her role as a CPS board member who voted to close schools. And again insisted she had no idea that Barbara Byrd Bennett - the CEO she voted to hire - was a criminal.

"Didn't know. And it was wrong and offensive and that's why she's going to go to prison," Zopp said.

"How can the voters trust your judgement as the United States Senator, going forward?" Harris asked.

At one point, Duckworth became emotional when talking about homeless veterans.

"We are all dishonored when a veteran must lay down his head, I'm sorry, on the very same streets that he defended," Duckworth said.

Zopp sharply criticized Duckworth for not agreeing to more debates, saying downstate Illinois deserves to hear from the candidates.

"The voters of downstate Illinois matter and they need to hear," Zopp said.

"I am going to be traveling the state the rest of the time and I have no other debates planned," Duckworth said.

Duckworth has raised several times as much money as Zopp and Harris combined. A source says the congresswoman could begin television advertising as soon as next week.

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