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Kinzinger thinks he could beat Pritzker, but has doubts about winning a “purity” primary

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021

* Adam Kinzinger was asked during A.D. Quig’s podcast for Crain’s Chicago Business what he thought of the Republican gubernatorial candidate field at the moment

It’s honestly… less than stellar. I like Jesse Sullivan a lot. I think he’s dynamic. Darren Bailey is trying to exist on masks, you know, that’s great, whatever. That will get you a win downstate. You’re not going to win the state of Illinois. It’s a little disappointing when you just look at the fact that in Illinois, you have this race to the far right. And it’s not a far right state. I don’t know how many times I hear people tell me, ‘if you just activate the base, we can win Illinois.’ Well, listen, the base is very activated, and we can’t win Illinois unless we win back the suburbs, right, the suburbs that Republicans used to win all the time.

I think if I ran for governor, I think I’m the only candidate that can win, at least that’s out there now. Maybe Jesse Sulllivan. Again, I like him. But I do recognize the difficulty of a primary in this environment. And I recognize that we’re in a moment where I think there’s some people that would rather torch their chances at winning the Illinois governor’s race than dare vote for somebody that’s a conservative, but doesn’t like Donald Trump. So, you know, it’s a unique moment.

He was asked about Ken Griffin’s money and he said he was uncomfortable with it, but since Gov. Pritzker will spend whatever it takes, then OK. But he didn’t know who Griffin would endorse.

* Kinzinger repeated his mantra about the suburbs, then added

And I think most importantly recognize that we’re not going to win the state House or the state Senate. So you’re gonna have to compromise. And I think looking at a Larry Hogan model or a Charlie Baker model in Vermont, or the governor of New Hampshire, Sununu, and say, ‘Look, some of these guys, for instance, are pro life like I am, but I’m also not going to go out and make my governorship about pro life issues because it’s not a pro life state. So let’s focus on what we can fix on the budget, on poverty and things like that.’ But I’m afraid, again, that they party focus is all going to be on purity. And in that case is going to be a tough win for anybody.

Go check it out.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments »
  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 3:47 pm:

    If you are NOT checking out A.D. Quig’s podcasts, you are missing out on some quality content. Can’t recommend enough.

    To the post,

    Kinzinger isn’t wrong. I could end it there. Lots of real truth there.

    I’ll miss out with Kinzinger running for Congress, a statewide primary would need such a crowded primary that his 27% or so he could muster would be “enough”. Tough to see him, statewide heading north of 36%.

    My best to him. I’ll wait and watch what’s next.


  2. - Middle Way - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 3:51 pm:

    Adam’s focus on the suburbs is completely correct. He’s also right about the party purity test from the base in a primary, rather than a focus on candidates who can potentially persuade and win over independents. Electoral success in the suburbs will only happen when the base can begin to take a more nuanced approach in their vetting of candidates.


  3. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:01 pm:

    To be clear, again, he likes Jesse Sullivan.


  4. - CubsFan16 - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:03 pm:

    Fact check on everything Kinzinger said: True.


  5. - Nuke The Whales - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:04 pm:

    “Stop saying the quiet part so loud please. You’ll scare everyone if they know what we plan to do once in power.”


  6. - wut? - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:08 pm:

    He likes Jesse Sullivan. You have to be kidding me right?


  7. - Jibba - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:19 pm:

    He’s laid out his path…let Bailey and others split the crazy vote, and he goes for the moderates and suburbanites and maybe squeaks through the primary. The crazies will come back because they dislike JB even more. Sadly for him, the dems are generally happy with JB and that’s ball game. JB is not Quinn.


  8. - thechampaignlife - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:25 pm:

    From what little I know of Kinzinger, he seems to be the standard bearer of the Republican party that I aligned with some 20-30 years ago. Level-headed, responsible, practical. Perhaps that is a whitewashing of him, and my memory of Republicans of the 1990s, but I still wish we had many more conservatives like him right now to displace the far right that has metastasized.


  9. - Juice - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:27 pm:

    Charlie Baker is the Governor of Massachusetts, not Vermont (Phil Scott, also a Republican.)

    So technically he was wrong about that. But that’s a bit petty, hard to disagree with his broader points.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:37 pm:

    He likes Sullivan, it seems.

    I don’t, so far. Tough bridge for me.

    Doesn’t mean the context isn’t true.


  11. - Huh? - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:38 pm:

    He will forever have the (R) after his name. Voted for him once, won’t ever again.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:42 pm:

    The other problem, for me, for these GOPers.

    They are not good alternatives to Pritzker, as the announced candidates seemingly are pandering, they are Rauner-like without the costumes and the phony backdrops and the money to pull it off.


  13. - BCOSEC - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:44 pm:

    Sullivan seems to have a little “Ben Wyatt as teenage mayor of Partridge, MN” feel for some reason. Probably unfair of me to post that?


  14. - Furtive Look - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:45 pm:

    Pritzker is indeed rather vulnerable. And Kinzinger is a legend in his own mind.


  15. - Sue - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:54 pm:

    As was proven with Rauner- any R who could somehow end up elected Governor would have to run the second Floor with a super majority D Legislature. So- why bother


  16. - Amalia - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:54 pm:

    you can soft pedal your stance on women’s bodily autonomy all you want. I will not trust you to govern with that concern in mind. nope.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 4:55 pm:

    === rather vulnerable===

    To the field as it currently is seen?

    Anti-vaccine Trumpkins?

    Hmm…


  18. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 5:03 pm:

    If Kinzinger were to win this hypothetical primary, who could be his base come November?

    If Rauner taught me anything, you don’t have the base, you don’t have a chance. The rabid Trumpkin base will come out to support Kinzinger, statewide?

    Did Rauner look to replace himself after the primary?


  19. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 5:04 pm:

    If you like’em…you’re like’em.


  20. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 5:05 pm:

    Like his chances in both the primary and the general elections.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 5:06 pm:

    === Like his chances===

    Sullivan or Kinzinger?

    You think Trumpkins would forgive and forget?


  22. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 5:21 pm:

    In the minority here, but I actually like Sullivan. He has a decent message. I like his volunteer work in Haiti and his work ethic. The fact that he has a serious campaign fund is a plus.
    Kinzinger has more experience and would be a more serious contender. Also he is not Bailey or Rabine.
    Frankly I am surprised how deep the resentment toward Pritzker is downstate. Given the choice between Pritzker and Kinzinger I think the Downstate Trumpkins would be huge for Kinzinger.
    Could be wrong, but Congressman Kinzinger looks like a very strong candidate in the general.
    Not sure he can get through a primary.


  23. - Anchors Away - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 5:29 pm:

    Lol. What Kinzinger would have to do to make himself minimally acceptable in a primary would make him completely unacceptable in a general election. I don’t disagree that he would be the best of the current crop in the sense that he’s not completely insane. But Pritzker is popular, well funded (obviously), and excites his own base.

    And Sullivan reminds me more of Paul Rudd’s Bobby Newport. No reason to malign a young Ben Wyatt.


  24. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 5:59 pm:

    If Kinzinger actually runs for Governor, even during the primary I wonder how quickly it will be before the Pritzker campaign and the IL Dems launch “Where Was Adam?” ads. Why he broke with Trump but was silent when Bruce Rauner ravaged the state with 2 budgetless years, when Scott Walker rammed RTWFL across the border from his district in Wisconsin, why he didn’t speak up against Trump prior to 1/6, etc.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 6:02 pm:

    ===how quickly it will be before the Pritzker campaign and the IL Dems launch===

    The idea will be to prop up Bailey. Why remind anyone of Kinzinger?

    Bailey is likely to get the attention.


  26. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 6:09 pm:

    Those who follow the blog and support the governor are probably aware of a couple of vulnerabilities. Crime, taxes, parental consent are all issues that have some opposition. But from whom? The rank and file democratic base? Very little. I think many would consider some of that to be his areas of strength. So vulnerable in the eyes of the ILGOP. Not an impact on this governor.

    Kinzinger may give Pritzker a run if he were to make it through the primary, but I don’t think itis a serious run. Too much voting with Trump to beat him up with. And in Illinois, Trump is toxic outside the echo chamber.

    Jesse Sullivan is definitely Bobby Newport. @Anchors nails it.


  27. - Unconventionalwisdom - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 6:34 pm:

    Unless some scandal or disaster occurs for Prtizker he will not be beaten in this heavily DEM state.

    He is already making excuses that he will not win the primary.


  28. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 6:44 pm:

    ===making excuses===

    Or looking at the landscape realistically?

    ===heavily DEM state===

    Name the entire 2018 GOP statewide ticket, without looking it up.

    (Sigh)


  29. - Henry - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 6:52 pm:

    He’ll be the best governor we never get.


  30. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 6:53 pm:

    Kinzinger has a bright future as a cable tv personality, not unlike Nicole Wallace. Why would he stay in elective politics when the real money is political info-tainment?


  31. - John Lopez - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 7:07 pm:

    Adam Kinzinger’s latest “Hamlet on the Potomac” routine.

    Given where Channahon located, maybe “Ham on the Des Plaines” suits Kinzinger better.


  32. - Jibba - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 7:19 pm:

    ===Pritzker is indeed rather vulnerable.===

    Wishing doesn’t make it true.


  33. - SuburbanRepublican - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 7:21 pm:

    Adam would be my pick to lead the ILGOP in 2026. Despite the national headwinds going against Democrats, JB is fairly well liked and his approvals have been pretty good. I’d advise him to wait until it’s an open office.


  34. - Friendly Bob Adams - Tuesday, Nov 23, 21 @ 7:22 pm:

    Kinzinger made a couple of level-headed votes that stood against the tide of craziness in his party. But other than that, what’s he got? I don’t see the appeal.


  35. - The Dude - Wednesday, Nov 24, 21 @ 5:38 am:

    I’m amazed anyone thinks democrats anywhere are in good standing politically anywhere in the country.

    Virgina and New Jersey should be a wake up call. National polling numbers on Biden and Harris should be a wake up call. Lightfoot polling is even hurting democrats.

    Yet so many people just keep telling themselves everything is alright and JB is in a good light. Personally I think it’s JB’s to lose right now but to sit and think he is going to walk right in is “wishing it to be true”


  36. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 24, 21 @ 6:27 am:

    ===but to sit and think he is going to walk right in is “wishing it to be true”===

    No race, including the race for governor, is at all easy, but which of the 4 announced candidates, in Illinois, can beat the governor?

    It’s not that Pritzker can’t be beaten, it is that the four currently running lack.


  37. - Independent - Wednesday, Nov 24, 21 @ 7:27 am:

    In this climate a Republican primary win would be tough. Losing a primary would diminish his status in his battle to reform the GOP. Probably best to sit ‘22 out, go on the speaking/book circuit. When ‘26 comes maybe the GOP is more rational and he can re-emerge as a senatorial candidate, possibly in a wide open race if Durbin retires.


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