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GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger not running for reelection: ‘This isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning’

Hours after Democrats passed the new Illinois congressional remap GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger said he will not run again; was pitted against GOP Rep. Darin LaHood.

Leading Trump critic Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., shown at the first hearing of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.
Leading Trump critic Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., on Friday announced he will not seek another term.
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WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the Illinois Republican leading a crusade against Trumpism and one of two GOP House members on the Jan. 6 investigation committee, announced Friday he will not seek another term.

“I want to make it clear. This isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning,” Kinzinger said in a video released Friday titled “The Next Chapter.”

Instead, he will use his national platform to continue to try to reclaim the Republican Party, now under the iron grip of former President Donald Trump and his lies, conspiracy theories, election denial and attacks on political norms.

Kinzinger was one of 10 Republicans voting to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. After Kinzinger’s announcement, Trump said in an email statement, “2 down, 8 to go!” That’s a reference to GOP Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who was among the 10 and who is also not going to run again in 2022.

Kinzinger, 43, of Channahon, who is in his sixth term, made the decision hours after the Illinois General Assembly sent a congressional remap to Gov. J.B. Pritzker to sign; that map throws him in a district with another Republican conservative, Rep. Darin LaHood of Peoria.

Democratic mapmakers eliminated Kinzinger’s current 16th District because they needed his turf to spread around to Democrats and were working under the theory that Kinzinger, a Trump target, would be wiped out in a GOP primary no matter where he was placed.

LaHood was a co-chair of the 2020 Illinois Trump campaign. Shortly after Kinzinger’s announcement, LaHood said he will run in the new 16th District, which contains about 50% of his current 18th District.

Kinzinger, a military pilot, served in the Air Force and is a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard. He was first elected to Congress in 2010, defeating now-former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, D-Ill.

Following the 2010 Census, when state Democrats also controlled the map, Kinzinger’s district was erased. He switched districts in 2012 and defeated a fellow Republican in the primary, ex-Rep. Don Manzullo.

Kinzinger said in the video that when he started his congressional career, “if I ever thought it was time to move on from Congress, I would. And that time is now.” He continued: “I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide.”

Last January, in the wake of the Capitol insurrection and Trump’s failed second impeachment, Kinzinger launched his “County First” movement, an outgrowth of his political action committee, “Future First.”

In a “Country First” email Kinzinger sent Friday, he said, the reason he will not seek another term is “simple: Leading a movement to save the Republic is more important to me than winning a seat or title for myself. And let’s be honest, the real progress and renewal that we’re hungry for isn’t going to come from politics as usual.

“Instead, it has to come from the outside, from you and me. No one is coming to our rescue. We must be the heroes of this story; we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Kinzinger said in the video, “America is facing an incredibly perilous time. I have always been optimistic, looking to our history to show how we would overcome any obstacle. In bad moments, someone has always stepped up to lead. Government for, of, and by the people always prevails. Right now, that government is the problem. And few have risen to do anything about it, because in this day to prevail or survive you must belong to a tribe.

“I’ve witnessed how division is so heavily rooted in this country. There’s little to no desire to bridge our differences, and unity is no longer a word we use. It has also become increasingly obvious that in order to break the narrative, I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide.

“As a country, we need to remember who we really are, what we’ve achieved in our darker days and why we’ve always fought for a brighter future. I know I’m not alone — there are many Americans desperately searching for a better way. They want solutions, not more problems. They want action, not extremism. They want light, not darkness. And the sooner we do it, the better it will be for the land that we love. Now is the time to put Country First.”

Kinzinger had said he might run for governor or senator in 2022 if the remap dissolved his district, which it did. The Illinois GOP gubernatorial primary is already crowded. No leading Republican so far is challenging Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., up for re-election in 2022.

As a leading national opponent to Trump and Trumpism, Kinzinger would have a hard time winning a GOP statewide Illinois primary. Spokesperson Maura Gillespie said Friday Kinzinger is “reviewing all options.”

Kinzinger’s growing national profile has translated into robust fundraising.

For the third quarter — covering July, August and September — Kinzinger raised $957,177 for his two political committees. He took in $562,355 for his reelection war chest and $394,822 for his Future First Leadership PAC, used to bankroll his “Country First” drive. As of June 30, the Future First fund had a $1,071,930 balance.

As of Sept. 30, Kinzinger’s main campaign fund had $3,351,167 cash-on-hand.