Will County GOP votes to censure Adam Kinzinger over attacks on other Republicans

Kinzinger, in turn, bashed the county organizations for it’s ‘petty’ censure vote

The Will County Republican Central Committee voted overwhelmingly to censure U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Thursday.

Chairman George Pearson said of the attending precinct committeemen, 111 voted for censure, while just five voted against and one abstained.

Pearson and other members said the main reason for the censure vote was Kinzinger’s effort to challenge other Republicans in primary races through his political action committee.

“If this is what we’re going to tolerate from Republicans, and then we’re supposed to sit back and not say anything, that’s a problem for me,” Pearson said.

He added, “As long as (Kinzinger) was going after (former President Donald Trump), it’s politics as usual, but you start raising money to go after other Republicans, I have a real issue with that.”

Will County Board member Steve Balich, R-Homer Glen, who voted for the censure resolution, said he worked hard with a local Tea Party organization to elect Kinzinger to congress. But, Balich said, Kinzinger did not always toe the party line, though his attacks on other Republicans was the last straw.

“If we don’t clean our own party up, we’re going to go into an election with Adam attacking all these people who don’t agree with him,” Balich said, referring to other Republican members of Congress.

In recent media appearances, Kinzinger said he wants to help challenge other Republicans in the 2022 midterm election who have espoused conspiracy theories, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia.

The Will County GOP joined organizations in LaSalle and Iroquois counties in censuring Kinzinger, whose district extends to the southwest corner of Will County.

Kinzinger took his own shot at the Will County GOP on Thursday releasing a statement bashing the group for its lack of electoral success in recent years.

“Not long ago, Will County was a staunchly conservative county where Republicans controlled the board and held countywide offices,” Kinzinger said in the statement. “Unfortunately, the current leaders of the Will County GOP have changed that. Under their leadership, Democrats took control of the County Board and Republicans have lost all countywide offices over the course of multiple elections.”

The congressman is correct that Republicans lost control of the board and countywide offices in the 2018 election.

“The leaders of the Will County GOP have proven they are unable to assist Republican candidates in winning these especially important elections,” he said. “As the last federal Republican official representing Will County, I have been saddened by this ineptitude.”

Kinzinger added, “Maybe if the Will County GOP spent the same amount of time and energy helping local Republicans as they do with petty censure votes to go after those that vote their conscience, they might actually win a few races.”

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.