And then there were eight.
The number of House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump in January and plan to run for reelection next year is down after Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said last week he won’t seek reelection. Kinzinger is the second of 10 pro-impeachment House Republicans who’ve declined to run next year, following Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, of Ohio, who made his announcement in September.
Both Kinzinger and Gonzalez faced the prospects of primaries against pro-Trump opponents — Kinzinger against incumbent Rep. Darin LaHood after Illinois Democrats approved new congressional maps based on 2020 census data, and Gonzalez against Max Miller, a former Trump White House aide — and both spoke publicly about the challenges they would face should they stay in office.
“What happens if I win again? I go back, Republicans will probably be in the majority,” Kinzinger said Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week.” “ I’m going to be fighting even harder some of these things, and it’s been obvious over the last 10 months that nobody — I haven’t seen any momentum in the party move away from lies and towards truth.”
Gonzalez said in a statement “many of the toxic dynamics inside our own party” were a significant factor in his decision to not seek reelection.
Kinzinger, who's been elected to six terms in the House, said lies and conspiracy had become a “cancer in the Republican Party,” and few are willing to speak out about it.
“Basically, it’s me, Liz Cheney, and a few others that are telling the truth, and there are about 190 people in the Republican Party that aren’t going to say a word,” he said.
Trump has singled out the Republicans who voted to impeach him for defeat next year. In a statement Friday, he wrote “2 down, 8 to go!”
All eight of the remaining pro-impeachment House Republicans have primary challengers, including at least four whose challengers have been endorsed by Trump, and all have raised more money than their challengers. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., for example, has more than $3.6 million on hand, while her Republican primary challenger Harriet Hageman has just nearly $245,000 on hand.
Despite the cash imbalance, Republicans who voted to impeach face a difficult road ahead. A Pew poll released last month found 67% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents want Trump to remain a major national political figure.
Kinzinger said “this isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning.” In his video last week announcing he wouldn’t seek reelection, he said he couldn’t focus both on reelection and “a broader fight nationwide.” His Country First PAC is raising money to fund “viable candidates at the local, state, and federal levels who have the courage to put country before party,” according to its website.
Kinzinger said he’s heard from many who don’t feel they have at home in today’s Republican Party.
“There’s a lot of people that feel politically homeless, there’s a lot of people that feel like something has to change in our politics,” he said. “ If you don’t like Joe Biden you have to be for Donald Trump. My goodness, there’s a vast array of options out there and whole, new ideas and solutions that we haven’t even thought of yet.”