Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of the most prominent critics of former President Donald Trump in the House Republican Conference, announced Friday he would not seek reelection next year.
Kinzinger was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach the then-president in January following the Capitol insurrection, and he is now the second member of that group to say he will retire from Congress, joining Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio).
Kinzinger’s announcement came shortly after Illinois’ state legislature passed a new congressional map Friday morning that drew the lawmaker into the same district with another Republican incumbent, Rep. Darin LaHood — setting up a would-be primary fight between Kinzinger and LaHood, a more reliable Trump ally in the House.
“I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide,” Kinzinger said in a roughly five-minute video message posted online, vowing to continue his political career elsewhere.
Apart from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wis.), Kinzinger has received greater national attention in the aftermath of the insurrection as perhaps the congressional Republican most critical of his party’s efforts to spread the falsehood that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from Trump.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped both Cheney and Kinzinger in July to serve on the Democratic-led select panel investigating the violence of Jan. 6 and the events that led up to the pro-Trump insurrection. Senate Republicans previously blocked a bill to establish a bipartisan, independent commission to probe the matter.
Although Kinzinger decried both Democrats and Republicans in his pre-recorded remarks Friday for appealing to their parties’ “most motivated and extreme elements,” he appeared to allude specifically to Trump’s style of politics and the divisions fomented by the former president’s election falsehoods.
“We’ve allowed leaders to reach power selling the false premise that strength comes from degrading others and dehumanizing those that look, act or think differently than we do,” he said. “As a country, we’ve fallen for those lies. And now, we face a poisoned country filled with outrage blinding our ability to achieve real strength.”
Kinzinger also argued that Americans “must unplug from the mistruths we’ve been fed” and commended “the courage of the other nine members in the House who voted to impeach a president of their own party, knowing it could be detrimental to their political career.”
Amid the redistricting battle, Kinzinger has publicly floated the possibility of seeking another office in Illinois — potentially launching a statewide campaign for Senate or governor. 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, frankly, looking at the Senate or the governor a little more attractive, I guess.”