The time to move on 'is now': Adam Kinzinger won't run again for Congress in 2022

  • U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP File)

    U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP File)

  • Adam Kinzinger

    Adam Kinzinger

  • Late Thursday, state lawmakers approved this map of new congressional district boundaries for the Chicago area.

    Late Thursday, state lawmakers approved this map of new congressional district boundaries for the Chicago area. Illinois Legislative Redistricting website

 
 
Updated 10/29/2021 9:00 PM

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger -- a high-profile critic of former President Donald Trump and his loyalists -- won't seek reelection to Congress in 2022, he announced Friday.

The six-term lawmaker from Channahon who has drawn national attention and enmity from the GOP for voting to impeach Trump, and for serving on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, revealed in a nearly 5-minute video he is ending his congressional career. The video was released on social media and YouTube.

 

"I've witnessed how division is so heavily rooted in this country," said Kinzinger, who has been speaking out against that division and political extremism for months with a political movement he dubbed Country First. "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."

Kinzinger will finish his current term, which ends in January 2023, a spokeswoman said.

Kinzinger's announcement came hours after the General Assembly approved a new congressional district map that redrew the 16th District to include him and another Republican incumbent, 18th District Rep. Darin LaHood of the Peoria area, and could have set up a primary between the two veteran lawmakers.

Kinzinger's campaign website, electadam.com, was inaccessible Friday morning. Visitors were automatically redirected to country1st.com, the online home of Kinzinger's political initiative.

Kinzinger repeatedly had said he would seek reelection to Congress but that he was open to other options, including a run for a statewide post. The governor's office will be on the 2022 ballot, as will the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates.

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Kinzinger's video didn't rule out a run for a different post.

"I want to make it clear -- this isn't the end of my political future, but the beginning," Kinzinger said.

In a Twitter post introducing the video, Kinzinger said he'll "continue to fight for truth and transparency, for principled leadership and proven solutions, for hope and opportunity."

But as far as Congress goes, the time to move on "is now," Kinzinger said in the video.

Illinois political expert Kent Redfield believes Kinzinger has a better chance of maintaining national stature by not running for any office in 2022.

"He would have a difficult time winning a primary in the 16th District or winning a primary or general election for governor or other statewide office," said Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

If Kinzinger wants to shape national politics and the debate about the GOP's future, he'll get better media attention as a retired congressman and Trump opponent than as someone who lost a GOP primary or general election, Redfield said.

"Going out undefeated at this time is preferable to going out as a loser," he said.

The current 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.

In the revised map approved early Friday by the General Assembly and sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the 16th District would cover a lot of that same ground but also include far northwest Illinois and more of central Illinois.

After Kinzinger made his announcement Friday, LaHood declared he'll run for the 16th District seat in 2022.

Five other Republicans already are running for the seat: Catalina Lauf of Woodstockm, Jack Lombardi of Manhattan, Teresa Pfaff of Machesney Park, Geno Young of Chicago and Michael Rebresh of Minooka.

Democrat Marsha Williams of Wilmington has said she's running in the 16th, too, but this week she said she'll switch to the 17th District, where Democrat Cheri Bustos of Moline is the incumbent. Bustos isn't seeking reelection.

Rebresh wasn't surprised by Kinzinger's withdrawal, saying Kinzinger faced an uphill battle after "burning as many bridges to the party and its base as possible."

Lauf said on Twitter: "WE got rid of one, who's next?"

Trump celebrated Kinzinger's announcement by cheering "2 down, 8 to go" in a brief statement via his Save America political committee.

Kinzinger is the second of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump to announce retirement plans. U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio was the first.

Across the political aisle, U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat serving the 6th District, solemnly noted that Kinzinger's criticism of the people who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 "made him unwelcome in his own party."

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of Chicago called Kinzinger "a bold voice for speaking truth to power."

"(He) has consistently put the country first over partisan politics," tweeted Quigley, whose 5th District includes part of the West suburbs. "He will be missed in Congress."

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