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GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger on potential Illinois governor run: ‘I’m the only candidate that can win’

Kinzinger, who recently announced he won't run for reelection in 2022, hasn't yet disclosed his post-Congress plans. ...
Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

  • Kinzinger said he's the only GOP candidate who could potentially win the Illinois governor's race next year.
  • "If I ran for governor, I think I'm the only candidate that could win, at least that's out there now," he told Crain.
  • Kinzinger is one of the few prominent Republicans in office willing to vocally criticize Trump.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois in a new interview portrayed himself as the only potential GOP candidate who could beat incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, in the state's gubernatorial election next year. 

"If I ran for governor, I think I'm the only candidate that could win, at least that's out there now," Kinzinger said on Crain's "A.D. Q&A" podcast.

At a time when many Republican candidates vie to win elections by tying themselves to former President Donald Trump and his brand of politics, Kinzinger emphasized that Illinois is not a "far right" state and that's not the type of campaign he'd run.

He underscored that winning back the suburbs would be crucial to any successful GOP gubernatorial campaign in Illinois, while contending that focusing on conservative "purity" on issues like abortion would be a losing strategy.

"I don't know how many times I hear people tell me if you just activate the base, we can win Illinois," Kinzinger said. "Listen, the base is very activated and we can't win Illinois unless we win back those suburbs, right? The suburbs that Republicans used to win all the time."

But Kinzinger also suggested that the nature of the GOP at the moment could lead to a difficult primary. 

"I recognize that we're in a moment where I think there's some people that would rather torch their chances at winning the Illinois governor's race than dare vote for somebody that's a conservative that doesn't like Donald Trump," Kinzinger said. "It's a unique moment."

Kinzinger, who recently announced he won't run for reelection in 2022 , hasn't made any announcements on what he plans to do after leaving Congress.

He recently told CNN that he was still weighing his options in terms of what to do next, and didn't rule out a potential presidential bid. Kinzinger signaled that he'd be more likely to run for governor or US senate, and would "probably" make an announcement in this regard by January. 

The Illinois Republican and US Air Force veteran has been pushed into the national spotlight over the past year as one of the only members of his party willing to vocally criticize Trump.

Kinzinger was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the deadly January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. And he is one of only two Republicans sitting on the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection. He's also been openly critical of party leadership — particularly House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. 

In a video announcing that he would not seek reelection released in late October, Kinzinger warned that the US is currently a "poisoned country."

"In Congress, I've witnessed how division is heavily rooted," Kinzinger said. "There is little to no desire to bridge our differences, and unity is a word we no longer use. It's also become increasingly obvious to me that in order to break the narrative, I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide." 

Read the original article on Business Insider

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