Rep. Adam Kinzinger, D-Ill., said he is not ruling out a 2024 presidential bid. | Alex Wong/Getty Images
Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, said when it comes to a White House run, he is “literally just not ruling it out, but there’s no grand plan right now.”
WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., one of the nation’s leading critics of former President Donald Trump, said Thursday he is considering a 2024 White House bid.
“I don’t rule it out,” he told me in an interview. For now, he said, “there is no grand plan” for what he does next.
Kinzinger last week announced that he would not seek reelection after state Democrats threw him in a district with another Republican in the new congressional map Gov. J. B. Pritzker still has to sign into law.
On Thursday, Kinzinger was in the Capitol being followed around by a documentary crew when I ran into him in the rotunda with his pregnant wife, Sofia. They are expecting their first child in January. He said the decision to move on from the House took a “weight off my shoulders.”
As to Kinzinger’s political future, he has already said starting in April he is considering a 2022 run for Illinois Senate or governor. I wrote in a Monday column I didn’t think Kinzinger would run statewide because it would distract against his crusade against Trumpism.
Now Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the Jan. 6 investigation committee along with Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, is adding the presidential option.
The decision timeline for Kinzinger, 43, of Channahon, will be partly dictated by the Illinois election calendar. Petitions for Illinois statewide offices start circulating on Jan. 13 with filing in March. The Illinois primary is in June.
Kinzinger faces the same problem whether running in Illinois or for president: His crusade against Trump’s election denial, embrace of conspiracy theories and role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol means it will be very hard for him to win a GOP primary. Trump is signaling he will run in 2024.
I caught up with Kinzinger again, outside the House chamber after CNN reported he would “definitely” be considering a presidential run as well as a statewide bid.
Here’s what Kinzinger told me:
On a White House run: “I don’t rule it out. It’s not what I’m seeking. It’s not the big plan. … I would be dishonest to rule it out.”
On whether he prefers a statewide run to a presidential run: “I don’t know the answer to any of that. I know that when it comes to statewide office, that’ll be a decision I have to make in the next few months.”
“I’m really kind of looking at this going, you know, obviously this is a bit of a change for me, you know, to not be running again, but I still have the fire at you know, a different kind of level. So how best does that fit? I don’t know the answer yet. But I won’t rule anything out.”
On whether Kinzinger could beat Trump or if a White House bid would be symbolic to elevate his issues: “We’d have to see, we’ll see if it would happen, what three years from now looks like. Like I said, just literally just not ruling it out, but there’s no grand plan right now.”