(CBS) – There was no shortage of politicians along parade routes on July 4th, including U.S. Senate candidates Mark Kirk and Tammy Duckworth.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports.

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Amidst the marching bands and flag-waving onlookers, politicians were out in force, walking and working the crowd at July 4th parades.

Incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk is fighting off a challenge from Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Monday’s parades offered a rare opportunity to ask both candidates about their campaigns.

Kirk stuck with the theme of independence.

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“I’m much more independent of my party than she is,” the Republican said in Wheaton. “She just does what (her) party says.”

Duckworth, a Democrat, focused on her service to the nation.

“This is an important day for me. My family has served in uniform since the Revolution,” she said in Skokie.

The contest between Kirk and Duckworth is considered the nation’s top Senate race to watch.

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It could decide the balance of power in that chamber.