Anti-Trump Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2022. In a five-minute video he released on Twitter, Kinzinger reminded voters of the promise he made during his first campaign, saying, “if I ever thought it was time to move on from Congress, I would. And that time is now.”
Democrats in Springfield gerrymandered his seat out of existence by redrawing Kinzinger’s district so that it overlapped with Rep. Darin LaHood’s district. LaHood is a reliable Trump ally and Kinzinger didn’t need to be a genius to see the writing on the wall.
Looking forward to the next chapter! pic.twitter.com/SvdFCVtrlE
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) October 29, 2021
Kinzinger, a veteran who served two tours in Iraq flying surveillance planes, first ran for Congress in 2010, defeating Democratic incumbent Debbie Halvorson. He won re-election five times with well over 60% of the vote.
But the Illinois representative voted to impeach Donald Trump in January after voting with the Republican majority during the first impeachment vote. After that, Kinzinger’s fate was sealed. Trump referred to him as a “hack” dividing the party. Several Illinois Republican organizations censured him although, significantly, the state party did not. Party chair Don Tracy said the state party organization “will not be censuring Congressman Kinzinger. His goal is to unite the party and stop the circular firing squad.”
It’s that sentiment that Kinzinger will test going forward.
Amid the redistricting battle, Kinzinger has publicly floated the possibility of seeking another office in Illinois — potentially launching a statewide campaign for Senate or the governor’s office. In April, he told The Chicago Sun-Times that if he ends up “getting drawn out of a district and you have no opportunity to run again for the House and you want to stay involved, yeah, it makes, it makes frankly looking at the Senate or the governor a little more attractive, I guess.”
The seat held by first-term Democrat Sen. Tammy Duckworth is up in 2022, although Kinzinger would have to scramble to make a competitive run. A similar situation exists with any effort to defeat incumbent Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker. That election will also take place in 2022 and would take a prodigious amount of fundraising to compete with the billionaire incumbent.
Realistically for Kinzinger, he has no way forward in politics. He seemed to admit that in his statement.
“As a country, we must unplug from the mistruths we’ve been fed. In Congress, I’ve witnessed how division is heavily rooted. There’s little to no desire to bridge our differences,” Kinzinger said in a video posted on Twitter. “And unity is no longer a word we use. It has also become increasingly obvious to me that in order to break the narrative. I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide.”
“This isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning. Serving six terms in Congress, has been an honor of a lifetime,” the Republican from Channahon said.
Kinzinger’s apostasy was never going to end well for him. It rarely does for any politician. Even today when party discipline is at its lowest, the Republican rebels who voted to impeach a Republican president will likely pay the ultimate price for what many in the party and most of Trump’s loyal supporters see as a betrayal.