Chicago Sun Times: Kinzinger big story of 2021; preview of Illinois politics in 2022

The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol transformed Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., from a conspiracy fighter to one of the few elected Republicans in the entire nation willing to take on the Trump wing of the GOP, resulting in the end of his career in the House. The arc of that story is one of the biggest I covered in 2021.

Here’s my review of Kinzinger’s extraordinary 2021 and a 2022 Illinois political preview:

Kinzinger’s big year

Kinzinger was already pushing back against the conspiracy theories taking root within elements of his Republican party when the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection occurred. The next day, Kinzinger called for invoking the 25th Amendment on the grounds that then-President Donald Trump was “unmoored.” On Jan. 13, Kinzinger was one of 10 Republicans voting to impeach Trump over the attack.

At the end of January, Kinzinger, from Channahon, launched his Country First “movement” to reclaim the Republican Party from the forces leading to the Capitol riot and to provide a counter to Trump’s grip on the GOP. By July, Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., were the leading national GOP voices against what became Trump’s rampant election denialism and attempts to whitewash his role in trying to deny Joe Biden the presidency.

In July, Kinzinger and Cheney became the only two Republicans to serve on the Democratic-created Jan. 6 select committee probing the pro-Trump mob trying to stop Congress from formalizing Biden’s election.

Trump and his allies promised revenge, making Kinzinger’s ability to win a GOP 2022 primary in Illinois difficult no matter where Democrats in Springfield put Kinzinger in their new congressional remap. After being thrown in a district with Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., in October, Kinzinger said he would not seek another House term.

The original article and video coverage can be found on the Chicago Sun Times website here.