There are few things former President Donald Trump would like to see more than one of his fiercest critics, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), be primaried out of office. As it turns out, though, Illinois Democrats may be the ones to beat any Republican primary challenger to the punch, since new congressional maps have been redrawn to put the Republican into a Democratic district.
Illinois is one of a few states where Democrats completely control the redistricting process.
Rep. Kinzinger had strong words about the process, claiming that the "redistricting process has been anything but transparent, which comes as no surprise to anyone." Tellingly, he acknowledged that his time in the U.S. House of Representatives may be at an end, which has led to speculation he might run for the U.S. Senate or to be governor. With original emphasis, his statement noted also read that:
“I have proudly served six terms in the U.S. House and it has been an honor to do so. Following the release of the new congressional maps for Illinois, my team and I will spend some time looking them over and reviewing all of the options, including those outside the House.
Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold for WBEZ Chicago have more details, including that this is a preliminary draft, though it's gained considerable attention and condemnation all the same:
Democratic officials stressed that the plan unveiled Friday is merely a preliminary version that is expected to undergo revisions before a final vote, possibly during the final week of the legislature’s upcoming six-day fall session that begins Tuesday.
But Republicans were quick to pounce on the new partisan maps.
“Call this new Illinois map the Nancy Pelosi Protection Plan,” said Don Tracy, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. “It’s appalling that fair representation, keeping communities of interest together, and transparency in the mapmaking process in Illinois all had to take a back seat to the demands of national politics.”
The top House GOP leader also assailed what Democrats produced.
“In another insult to Illinois voters, Democrats drew more partisan maps to benefit their incumbent politicians and protect Nancy Pelosi’s failing majority,” Illinois Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said in a statement.
Even Rep. Kinzinger's Democratic opponent, should he run for that redistricted seat, has spoken out against it:
By far, the most intrigue associated with this version is the way in which the Democratic political cartographers crowded Kinzinger and Newman into the same district, which snakes from Midway Airport to LaSalle, some 85 miles away.
It includes a chunk of Republican-leaning, rural areas, and Newman was the lone Democrat to criticize the new political turf she could be handed.
“While our team continues to review the draft congressional map that was released earlier today, it is abundantly apparent that what has currently been proposed for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District is not only retrogressive but substantially diminishes the diverse and progressive voices of Chicago’s Southwest Side and suburbs,” she said.
“I know that [the district’s] constituents will ensure their voices are heard loud and clear at these public hearings over the coming days,” Newman said.
Rep. Rodney Davis, another Republican, was also a victim of redistricting, should these proposals turn out to be final.
WTVO had hinted earlier in the week that Rep. Kinzinger's seat could be redistricted. The risk of this happening has been discussed for some time, though. Writing for POLITICO, Ally Mutnick asked in a piece from August 25, "How screwed is Adam Kinzinger?"
Her reporting addressed a lot of what is being discussed now, specifically whether Rep. Kinzinger could still win a Congressional seat, as well as potential runs for the Senate or governorship, and what role Trump might play:
The elimination of his district would force the veteran Republican congressman to choose between running in unfamiliar territory, possibly against another incumbent, or making a long shot run for governor or Senate in a blue state — and that assumes Kinzinger could prevail in a GOP primary after spending the last year criticizing a former president who remains beloved by the base.
“Adam, right now, he and I get along great. What he’s doing, he’s doing. But if you look at the Republican electorate in any one of those districts — probably not,” said Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) when asked if Kinzinger could win in a different seat. “It'd be hard.”
As formidable as he might be in a general election, Kinzinger will have Republican primary election difficulties no matter the office he seeks. The former president is still immensely popular with GOP voters and Kinzinger's unrestrained criticism of Trump would make it easier for a pro-Trump candidate to stoke the base. Trump himself could help recruit Senate or governor prospects to oppose him.
Back in August, Kinzinger did not seem to be paying it much mind. "Kinzinger is well-aware his seat is on the chopping block but says he's not 'overthinking' or 'losing sleep' over something of which he has no control," Mutnik reported. "If I lose my district, we'll take a look then," he told the outlet "But I'm not too freaked out."