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Kinzinger Blasts Partisanship While Announcing He Won’t Seek Reelection

October 29, 2021 by Dan McCue
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP File)

WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., one of former President Trump’s staunchest critics in the Republican party, announced Friday that he will not run for reelection in 2022.

The announcement, via Twitter, came just hours after Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly and Senate advanced new congressional district maps that placed Kinzinger in the same heavily Republican central Illinois district as Rep. Darin LaHood.

But Kinzinger, one of two Republicans to serve on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, said nothing of the new district lines ot the brewing gerrymander controversy in his state in the video posted to his Twitter account Friday.

In the video Kinzinger recalled returning from service in Iraq in 2009 and deciding “in the face of all odds” that he would challenge incumbent Democrat Debbie Halvorson.

It was, he said, “a seemingly unwinnable race,” but “I was spurred to run by my conviction.”

“I’ll never forget that campaign, excitement of election night and the majority and those supporters who reminded me to be my own man and to never do what they tell you to do, to do what’s right,” Kinzinger said.

“I stand tall and proud knowing that I have done just that,” he 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, but members of his own party were particularly incensed after he agreed to serve on the panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.

In his announcement, Kinzinger slammed the unrelenting partisanship in Washington and the leaders of both parties.

“My disappointment in the leaders that don’t lead is huge,” he said. “The battlefield must be broader and the truth needs to reach the American people across the whole country. This country is in incredibly perilous times. 

“I’ve always been optimistic and used our history as a story to show how we could overcome any obstacle,” Kinzinger continued. “In bad moments, someone has always been ready to lead and government for and by the people has always prevailed. 

“At this moment, [it is] that government that is the problem, and few have risen because 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.” 

Kinzinger also denounced social media as a tool that allows “leaders to sell the false premise that freedom comes from degrading others.”

“Dehumanizing each other has become the norm. We’ve taken it from social media to the streets. We’ve allowed leaders to reach power by 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,” he said.

Kinzinger did say he’s met “amazing people” during his 12 years in Congress, and said he continues to “stand in awe” at the courage of the other Republicans who joined him in voting to impeach Trump “knowing it to be detrimental to their political careers.”

“Most importantly, though, I admired those everywhere that put their country above their party in service to their fellow man. As a country, we need to remember who we really are and what we have achieved in our darker days and what we’ve always fought for,” he said.

“In Congress I’ve witnessed how division is heavily rooted. There’s little to no desire to bridge our differences,” Kinzinger said. “And unity is no longer a word we use. It has also become increasingly obvious in order to break the narrative I cannot focus on both a re-election to Congress and a broader fight nationwide. I want to make it clear. This isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning.”

“I know I am not alone. Many Americans are desperately searching for a better way. They want solutions, not more problems. They want action, not extremists. They want light, not darkness. Now is the time for choosing. Now is the time to work together to be part of the solution. Now is the time to put our country first.”

In Kinzinger’s home state of Illinois, debate over the post-2020 census congressional maps extended into early Friday morning.

An initial analysis of the map by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, a nonpartisan group that evaluates political maps, gave it an “F” grade Friday based on it being “very uncompetitive.”

While Illinois was poised to lose a seat due to a decline in population, the new map would create a congressional delegation of 14 Democrats and three Republicans starting in 2022.

Currently the delegation is split 13-5 in favor of the Democrats.

In addition to placing Kinzinger and LaHood together in the state’s 16th Congressional District, the map also places Republican Reps. Mike Bost and Mary Miller of Oakland in a new 12th Congressional District.

But Republicans weren’t the only one’s aggrieved by the new map. It also places first-term Democratic Rep. Marie Newman into the same majority-Latino district as Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Newman said in a statement posted to Twitter that the move was done “to appease one person and a small handful of affluent insiders at the expense of workers and working families” in her current district.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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