Nearly a full week after Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger said he will not seek a seventh term in Congress, the congressman on Thursday told CNN he is considering a statewide run, or even making a bid for the White House.
Kinzinger told CNN that he’ll “probably” make his decision on whether to launch a bid for Illinois governor or the U.S. Senate by January.
“The key is, how do we restore the honor of the party in the country?” Kinzinger, a Channahon Republican, told CNN.
The Illinois gubernatorial election would be in November 2022. Democratic incumbent Gov. JB Pritzker has said he will run for re-election, and vying so far for the GOP nomination are Paul Schimpf, Darren Bailey and Gary Rabine.
Democrat Tammy Duckworth’s Illinois Senate seat also would be up for re-election in November 2022. Six Republicans have said they will run in the GOP primary for the nomination.
Kinzinger, a Trump critic who voted in favor of the former president’s second impeachment, started a PAC called Country First, which he said vows to put “country over party.” Kinzinger is serving on a committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran and pilot in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, was sure to draw a heavy primary challenge if he stayed in the Congressional race. Before Illinois lawmakers approved new Congressional district boundary maps, he had drawn six GOP challengers. In the newly redrawn district, Kinzinger would have been running in the same district as Rep. Darin LaHood, who was elected to his third full term in office last November.
Shortly after announcing he would not seek re-election in Congress, Kinzinger told The Hill, “I’m not going anywhere.”
“This isn’t resignation, concession or giving up,” Kinzinger told The Hill reporter Andrew Solender and then tweeted the response.
Kinzinger gave the response in part to Trump, who reacted to Kinzinger’s Congressional announcement by saying “two down, eight to go,” making reference to the 10 members of the GOP who voted in favor of his second impeachment.
As of Sept. 30, Kinzinger’s reelection campaign had almost $3.4 million cash on hand, according to records filed online with the Federal Election Commission. That included more than $1.8 million in campaign contributions raised between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, according to the FEC.
Kinzinger has remained committed to continuing his efforts with his Country First PAC.
“It has become increasingly obvious to me that as a country we must unplug from the mistruths we’ve been fed,” Kinzinger said. “In Congress, I’ve witnessed how division is heavily rooted. There is little to no desire to bridge our differences, and unity is no longer a word we use. It has 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.”