The 2022 election is miles away. But Republicans are hopeful they’ll retake both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
Some Republicans, however, have an appetite to rid of incumbents deemed insufficiently “pro-Trump”—including the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump in January.
One of those members, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), has attracted a challenger in political newcomer Catalina Lauf. In fact, buzz surrounding her campaign has even garnered interest from the former president.
Lauf currently serves as Director of Heartland Global Resources, overseeing brands like BodyWorn Gear and Begin Health, INC. She previously worked for Uber Chicago and served as a Special Advisor in Trump’s Commerce Department.
Catalina joined me for a wide-ranging interview about her campaign, addressing her critics, the PRO Act, the future of conservatism, and more.
Why She’s Challenging Rep. Kinzinger
“When you have somebody like Adam Kinzinger—who represents a really rural, small business, everyday American community—and he is not only not pushing back against the Far Left but he's actually echoing a lot of what these leftists and the Democrats say, it’s a huge problem,” remarked Lauf.
“We cannot afford to have one of our last...few Republican seats being turned into another Democrat bastion.”
“This area is very Trump,” she added. “Illinois-16 went for President Trump by 16 points. It's very much a Trump district in a Trump area. But yet we have Congressman Adam Kinzinger who constantly bashes former President Trump. He's on MSNBC [and] CNN bashing the party when in reality he represents a part of the party that is just no longer there anymore. The forever wars, the overspending. These Republicans that vote with Pelosi...Ultimately, you know, we need to make that stance against somebody like him and push back. And that's why I'm challenging him.”
When I asked her to address criticism surrounding her campaign and if she’s carpetbagging, having run in IL-14 last cycle, she responded, “Where I live is actually right in between the district that I ran in previously. And in Adam’s, I'm about eight miles away from the technical boundaries of the 16th.”
The 27-year-old added, “So the carpetbagging [charge]—it doesn't really play. I don't think that's a factor at all, especially out here. We don't have anybody who's been willing to step up in a long time or even people who are formidable to be able to challenge incumbents.”
Lauf also suggested her name ID could make her formidable against Kinzinger in the 2022 Republican primary because “people really want new faces and new perspective(s) in the party and they want somebody... like myself out here fighting every day.”
Why 2022 GOP Candidates Must Campaign Against the PRO Act
I proceeded to ask the former Uber employee and current business owner about her thoughts on the Protecting the Right to Organizing (PRO) Act.
“The criteria that they're trying to use to identify whether or not you should be a contractor and employee is pretty invasive,” Lauf said of the ABC test inset in the bill, replicated from California Assembly Bill 5.
“Why is the government getting involved?...The short answer is because they want to push everybody towards unions.”
Lauf also expressed frustration with both Democrats and Republicans who are far removed from the challenges faced by small businesses
“Members of Congress...sometimes have no idea how this impacts everyday Americans or businesses because they've never been in the shoes of either the employer or the independent contractor. And that's a huge problem,” she added.
She observed Democrats supporting the PRO Act are betraying their women supporters who freelance and comprise nearly 50 percent of the gig economy.
“They [women] want flexible work environments. They want to be able to provide for their families and be able to work from home, or work on multiple projects and be able to take care of their kids,” explained Lauf.
“Where are the Democrats and these feminists talking about helping out women when they're completely trying to dismantle them from— an economic perspective?”
Where Trumpism & Conservatism Can Overlap
I then asked Catalina to share her thoughts on President Trump’s impact on the Republican Party.
“President Trump and the “America First” agenda was never about being xenophobic or anti-immigrant,” Lauf emphasized. “The [America First] movement is incredibly inclusive, and it produced quantifiable results for people of all backgrounds and colors.”
She hopes to be part of the “shift” in the Republican Party— in what she described as “a new age of republicanism” under the “America First” banner mixed with “social impact conservatism” that advocates for organizations, causes, mission and purpose-driven initiatives.