U.S. television networks have projected that Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan father and an American mother, has won a seat in the U. S. Senate seat from the state of Illinois.

Mr. Obama is widely considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. His projected win will make him the only African American in the Senate, and just the third black senator in more than 100 years.

The 42-year-old Harvard law school graduate was thrust into the national political spotlight this year when he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

Mr. Obama has worked as a civil rights attorney and a state legislator in Illinois. He has criticized the Iraq war and called for reform of Illinois capital punishment law.

Mr. Obama's republican opponent was Alan Keyes, also an African-American and a former presidential candidate.