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As Kinzinger retires, LaHood launches GOP run in new 16th District

211004 Darin LaHood.jpg
Joe Deacon
U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, said Monday that Democratic congressional leaders are to blame for holding up votes on raising the government's debt limit and approving a federal infrastructure package.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood of Dunlap has officially announced another run for Congress, launching a bid in the newly drawn 16th District that includes portions of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and McLean counties.

“As the redistricting process comes to a conclusion I am confident the opportunity exists for me to continue my service in Congress and I am announcing my intent to run for re-election in 2022,” said LaHood, who is unlikely to face a well-funded Republican challenger next year as U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a noted critic of former President Donald Trump, chose to call it quits rather than vying against LaHood in a GOP primary.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, seen here during a July 2021 hearing, is a member of the air national guard.
Chip Somodevilla
Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, seen here during a July 2021 hearing, is a member of the air national guard.

The Democrats who control the Illinois General Assembly drew both LaHood and Kinzinger into the new 16th Congressional District, which stretches from the Wisconsin border and snakes south around the Democratic-leaning urban areas of Peoria, Rockford, Bloomington, and the Quad Cities.

“I am grateful to the residents across Illinois who have encouraged me to run and already pledged their support to our campaign,” LaHood said in a news release. “I look forward to hitting the campaign trail, running a vigorous race, and working hard to win in 2022.”

LaHood’s 18th Congressional District was eliminated after the 2020 Census due to the state's population loss. He said he has represented more than half the counties in the newly drawn district either in Congress or the state Senate.

“I’ve spoken to voters across the state and it’s clear they want a strong conservative voice in Washington representing our values and speaking for our communities,” said LaHood, whose campaign fund brought in $600,000 in the third quarter.

Mike Rebresh of Minooka is challenging LaHood for the Republican nomination in the 16th District. He originally announced a primary challenge to Kinzinger before the redrawn maps were finalized.

Kinzinger was one of just 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the wake of the January insurrection on Capitol Hill.

It remains unclear what Kinzinger's next step is. In a Twitter video, the six-term congressman said he can't focus on both a reelection campaign and a broader fight nationwide addressing political division, lies, and "outrage blinding our ability to achieve real strength."

But he isn't ruling out a run for something else.

“I want to make it clear: This isn't the end of my political future, but a beginning,” he said.

Some political pundits have speculated Kinzinger may consider a statewide run if the remap was unfavorable. Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth and Gov. JB Pritzker are both up for reelection next year.

Republican Esther Joy King of East Moline is seeking to flip the new 17th District that includes most of Peoria and Bloomington-Normal. King is running for the second time after a closer-than-expected loss to U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, last year.

Earlier this year, Bustos announced she would not run for a sixth term. So far, two Democrats are seeking to follow her: Rockford alderman Jonathan Logemann and Rock Island County Board member Angie Normoyle of Moline.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.
Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.