From the NBC News political team
Republican Mark Kirk is NBC's projected winner of the Illinois Senate race, snatching the seat that former Sen. Barack Obama held in Illinois.
Kirk defeated Obama ally Alexi Giannoulias. Giannoulias struggled to overcome reports that his family's failed bank made loans to known criminals. The president and the first lady both made stops in the state to try to boost the Democrat.
Kirk, for his part, faced criticism during the campaign for embellishing his military record.
The victory for Kirk gives Republicans a net gain of five Senate seats so far tonight.