Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) on Tuesday announced a list of candidate endorsements in the upcoming elections. It appears he hopes to take a final shot at pro-Trump candidates on his way out of office, making some selections that were telling, though not exactly surprising. But how much weight will his endorsements carry?
Adam Kinzinger Strikes Back
Kinzinger has been on the anti-Trump train since the riot at the US Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. He serves on the Democrat-led House Select Committee, ostensibly to get to the bottom of what happened that day though critics have suggested the investigations are nothing more than a politically-motivated endeavor designed to harm the former president. He was also among ten Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump.
The lawmaker has frequently lashed out at Republican officials who have questioned the integrity of the 2020 presidential election result. Now, he’s working to ensure they aren’t re-elected in November. Kinzinger’s PAC, Country First, is backing Democrats Josh Shapiro and Katie Hobbs, who are running for governor in Pennsylvania and Arizona, respectively. Both of their opponents, Doug Mastriano and Kari Lake, have challenged the result of the 2020 election. He also endorsed Democrats running for secretary of state in Nevada, Michigan, Arizona, and Minnesota.
The lawmaker threw his support behind Republicans fending off challenges from other GOP candidates who cast doubt on the 2020 race. His list included Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who is running against Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka, and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who drew the former president’s ire in the fallout from the last presidential election.
Kinzinger selected one independent candidate – Evan McMullin – seeking to oust incumbent Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who participated in a text message exchange with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in which they discussed challenging the 2020 result.
In a statement, Kinzinger said: “Now more than ever, it’s critical we elect leaders up and down the ballot who are loyal to the Constitution and willing to be a bulwark for democracy — regardless of their political party affiliation.”
Kinzinger’s War on ‘Election Deniers’
Adam Kinzinger has been warring against those denying the veracity of 2020 for almost two years. He has been outspoken about his opposition to these individuals and even slammed Democrats for pouring funding into the campaign coffers of these candidates during the primary season.
“Don’t keep coming to me, asking where are all the good Republicans that defend democracy, and then take your donors’ money and spend half a million dollars promoting one of the worst election deniers that’s out there,” the lawmaker said during an appearance on CNN. “I mean, the DCCC needs to be ashamed of themselves.”
Kinzinger was referring to an effort on the part of Democrats to boost “radical” MAGA candidates during the primary season, banking on the idea that they would be easier opponents to defeat in the midterm elections. The lawmaker appears to believe his endorsement could make a difference in November, but it seems more likely he overestimates the strength of his influence; Adam Kinzinger is not exactly popular among conservatives.
Many on the right view Kinzinger, as well as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), as obsessed with President Trump and less concerned about furthering the conservative agenda. The constant yammering about Orange Man Bad does not play well with the base, most of whom are still firmly pro-Trump. In the end, the congressman’s endorsement will ring hollow.