Kinzinger announces he won’t seek reelection

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) announced Friday he will not seek reelection next year, marking an end to a 12-year House career that was capped off by vocal criticism of former President Trump.

In a video announcing his retirement at the end of his term in January 2023, Kinzinger recalled his first race in which he unseated a Democratic incumbent in 2010, saying he was fueled by supporters who told him to “be my own man and to never ‘do what they tell you to do,’” a tacit reference to his vociferous criticism of Trump.

“I stand tall and proud knowing that I have done just that,” Kinzinger said. “I also remember during that campaign saying that if I ever thought it was time to move on from Congress, I would. And that time is now.” 

Kinzinger was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January over his role in inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection. Along with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Kinzinger has been among the most vocal GOP critics of Trump, earning him enmity from some of his colleagues. Republican rebukes of him rose after he accepted a position on the special House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.

Several hours after Kinzinger’s announcement, Trump released a statement reading, “2 down, 8 to go!”

It was an apparent reference to both Kinzinger and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), who announced last month he wouldn’t seek reelection after also voting in favor of Trump’s impeachment.

In his announcement, the 43-year-old Kinzinger railed against the rife partisanship in Washington, accusing both parties of seeking to appeal to their most extreme flanks. 

“In this day, to prevail or survive, you must belong to a tribe,” he said. “Our political parties only survive by appealing to the most motivated and the most extreme elements within it. And the price tag to power has skyrocketed, and fear and distrust has served as an effective strategy to meet that cost.” 

“Dehumanizing each other has become the norm. We’ve taken it from social media to the streets. We’ve allowed leaders to reach power selling the false premise that strength comes from degrading others and dehumanizing those that look, act or think differently than we do. As a country, we’ve fallen for those lies, and now we face a poisoned country filled with outrage blinding our ability to reach real strength.”

Kinzinger also expressed “awe” at his nine GOP colleagues who took an impeachment vote that is already starting to imperil their reelection bids.

Despite his departure from Congress, Kinzinger said he would continue fighting a “nationwide” fight.

The six-term lawmaker has been rumored to be mulling a challenge to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) next year in a blue state where some say only an anti-Trump moderate like Kinzinger could stand a chance as a Republican. 

In the meantime, Kinzinger is expected to continue work for a political action committee, Country First, that he started earlier this year to fight against Trump’s stranglehold on the Republican Party.

“I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide,” Kinzinger said. “I want to make it clear, this isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning.” 

Speculation had abounded prior to Friday’s announcement that Kinzinger would forego reelection amid his tense position within the House GOP and the redistricting process in Illinois.

In proposed maps awaiting Pritzker’s signature, Kinzinger would have been lumped into the same district as Rep. Darin LaHood (R), setting up a potentially ugly intraparty brawl in northern Illinois. Kinzinger’s retirement likely clears the way for LaHood to win election in the safe red seat.

Updated at 12:14 p.m.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Anthony Gonzalez Criticism of Donald Trump Darin LaHood Donald Trump Liz Cheney Trump
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