Oct 21, 2022 - Politics

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Evan McMullin reflect on Jan. 6 at campaign event

Photo illustration collage of Evan McMullin surrounded by ballot elements.

Photo Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images.

U.S. GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and independent U.S. Senate candidate Evan McMullin reflected on the Jan. 6 insurrection and its aftermath Thursday during a crowded campaign forum at the Salt Lake City Library.

Details: Kinzinger, who voted to impeach President Donald Trump last year and is one of two Republicans serving on the Jan. 6 select committee, recently endorsed a bipartisan slate of candidates in the midterms, including McMullin.

  • He made his 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.
  • Kinzinger is not seeking re-election and made his endorsements through his PAC Country First.

The intrigue: Both Kinzinger and McMullin are part of a faction of conservatives who have sharply criticized Trumpism and the U.S. Capitol attacks.

Context: McMullin is vying to unseat GOP Sen. Mike Lee in Utah's U.S. Senate race. He's counting on a coalition of disillusioned Republicans, Democrats and third-party and unaffiliated voters.

  • Lee, who is running for this third U.S. Senate term, came under fire earlier this year over text messages he reportedly exchanged with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that outlined tactics to overturn the 2020 presidential election, CNN reported.

What they said: "We don't use the Constitution as a prop. We don't carry it around in our pocket one day and then go and violate it the next day," said Kinzinger, referring to the pocket Constitution Lee carries.

  • "Right now, we're fighting for the survival of this country," Kinzinger added.
  • McMullin said the Jan. 6 attacks "shook him" in a similar way that 9/11 disturbed him.

Flashback: During a heated debate between McMullin and Lee this week, the incumbent defended his text messages saying he was researching rumors of fake electors in swing states before ultimately voting to certify the 2020 election results.

  • "Yes, there were people who behaved very badly on that day," Lee said at the debate. "I was not one of them."

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