Illinois congressional candidate touts support from controversial Republican lawmaker

A conservative U.S. House candidate from northeast Illinois is trumpeting support he's received on Twitter from an Arizona congressman who's drawn controversy for ties to white nationalists and comments about the 2020 election and the Capitol riot, among other subjects.

Jack Lombardi, a Manhattan Republican who has billed himself as the "most conservative candidate" running for the 16th District seat now held by Republican Adam Kinzinger, was the subject of a tweet Friday by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar.

"Just had a great chat with @JackLombardi and if you live in Illinois check this man out," tweeted Gosar, a six-term Republican.

Lombardi retweeted the comment, adding "Thank you for your time. Great things to come!"

Gosar, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, was criticized in February for speaking at a gathering called the America First Political Action Conference that was led by a white nationalist political commentator and featured anti-immigration rhetoric and talk of an "anti-white agenda." Video of the event's speeches is publicly available.

On Jan. 6, Gosar helped lead the objection to the presidential election results in his home state in an attempt to overturn Democrat Joe Biden's victory. The deadly assault on the Capitol by supporters of Trump supporters occurred the same day.

Gosar - whose siblings have endorsed his political opponents - later accused the Justice Department of "harassing peaceful patriots across the country" by filing charges against people who participated in the riot.

He claimed a woman fatally shot while trying to break into the House chamber was "executed."

Gosar has also cosponsored legislation seeking to repeal constitutional citizenship protections for U.S.-born children of immigrants and has taken heat for engaging in antisemitism and making other controversial comments.

When asked to elaborate on his conversation with Gosar, Lombardi said he spoke with the congressman by phone about his candidacy.

"People are excited by the possibility of a Republican who will stand up for our constitutional rights, secure the border, back the blue and won't spend their days bashing Republicans to score points with the liberal media," Lombardi said.

Lombardi touted Gosar's membership in the House's conservative Freedom Caucus and that group's efforts to "preserve our constitutional rights, cut taxes to improve our economy (and) put government spending on a diet," among other goals.

"His district has repeatedly reelected him despite all-out attempts to defeat him," Lombardi said.

Kinzinger, who has criticized Gosar, Trump and other Republicans for lying about the election results and the Capitol siege and spreading conspiracy theories, slammed Lombardi and Gosar after their Twitter exchange.

"Those who wish to peddle in conspiracy theories and outright lies are not leaders," said Kinzinger, of Channahon.

"They are taking advantage of people's fear for their own political gain. And that, to me, is sickening."

In addition to Lombardi, five other Republicans have announced they're running to unseat Kinzinger: Catalina Lauf of Woodstock, James Marter of Oswego, Teresa Pfaff of Machesney Park, Geno Young of Chicago, and Leona Di Amore of Channahon.

Marsha Williams of Wilmington is the lone Democratic candidate so far.

The 16th District includes parts or all of 14 Illinois counties. It stretches from the far Northwest suburbs and the Rockford area to downstate Ford County. But the district boundaries certainly will be redrawn ahead of the June 2022 primary, based on 2020 census data.

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Paul Gosar
Adam Kinzinger
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