Kinzinger primary challenger picks up Cawthorn endorsement

Kinzinger primary challenger picks up Cawthorn endorsement
© Greg Nash

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) endorsed pro-Trump Republican candidate Catalina Lauf on Wednesday as she campaigns to unseat Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes Jan. 6 committee taps former Bush administration official as top lawyer Blinken grilled in first hearing since Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (R-Ill.).

In his endorsement, Cawthorn called Kinzinger, a vocal Trump critic, a “political insider,” adding that he “has no place in the Republican Party.”

“I am the first to condemn D.C. insider Kinzinger and the first to endorse a powerful America first, political outsider, in Catalina Lauf. I assure you I will not be the last,” Cawthorn, a staunch supporter of former President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE, wrote in a statement. 

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“She is dedicated to working for, not against, the interests of the people of Illinois, and I know that she will be a powerful fighter in Washington,” he added.

The endorsement comes as the GOP fumes over Kinzinger, who agreed to join House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Jan. 6 committee taps former Bush administration official as top lawyer Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan MORE's (D-Calif.) select committee to probe the events of the Jan. 6 insurrection.  

The Republican lawmaker is likely to face a tough reelection campaign come November 2022 as he further distances himself from the Republican base that, for the most part, remains loyal to the former president. 

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Kinzinger was one of 10 GOP House members to vote to impeach Trump for a second time on a charge of inciting an insurrection following the attack on the Capitol.

Lauf welcomed Cawthorn’s endorsement, writing in a statement, “We are grateful for the faith Congressman Cawthorn has shown in our campaign and our mission to take on Pelosi Republican, Adam Kinzinger.”

Cawthorn, a conservative firebrand, faces at least three Democratic challengers in his 2022 reelection race.

While Kinzinger is facing increased scrutiny from his peers on Capitol Hill, supporters at home are still funneling money to the Republican congressman.

In the second quarter of this year, Kinzinger raked in more than $800,000 for his 2022 reelection campaign. With that new funding, he started the second half of the year with more than $3 million in cash on hand.

The 10 Republicans who supported Trump’s second impeachment outpaced their GOP rivals who opposed the effort in fundraising last quarter, according to financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission).

Cawthorn, in his endorsement of Lauf, said, “The day of the pandering politician is over, it is time for American lions to rise, and in 2022 this nation will hear the roar of freedom.”