Oct 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

GOP Rep. Kinzinger endorses Democrats in key state races

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) gives closing remarks during a prime-time hearing in the Cannon House Office Building on July 21, 2022

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Outgoing Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), a fierce critic of former President Trump and election deniers within his party, revealed Tuesday that he is backing both Democrats and Republican candidates in a slate of upcoming state elections.

Why it matters: Kinzinger's Tuesday endorsements are the latest sign of the lawmaker's break with the GOP and are necessary "to preserve our nation’s democracy," he said in a statement.

Driving the news: Kinzinger endorsed four Democratic secretary of state candidates: Steve Simon of Minnesota, Jocelyn Benson of Michigan, Adrian Fontes of Arizona and Cisco Aguilar of Nevada, Politico first reported.

  • He made his bipartisan endorsements based on the idea that there are "going to be positions that, frankly, can be bulwarks to defend against a real constitutional crisis in 2024," he told Politico.
  • "A badly placed, bad-faith secretary of state can really throw the whole country into chaos."

Details: Kinzinger, who is not seeking re-election, made the endorsements on Tuesday through his PAC, Country First.

  • Kinzinger also endorsed some Republican candidates, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who resisted pressure to overturn the 2020 election and won his primary against a candidate backed by Trump.
  • "Country First has selected candidates who put country over party and will uphold their oaths to defend democracy — no matter what," the PAC said.

The big picture: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the only other Republican to serve on the Jan. 6 select committee with Kinzinger, has also been an outspoken critic of the former president but has not made any formal endorsements.

  • Cheney last week urged voters in Arizona to vote against the state's Republican nominee for governor, Kari Lake, as well as secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem.
  • "They both said that they will only honor the results of an election if they agree with it," Cheney said at an event at Arizona State University.

State of play: More than 200 election deniers — candidates promoting baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump — will appear on ballots in November, Axios' David Nather reports.

Go deeper: Where election denial could matter most

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