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Notoriously anti-Trump Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger is facing his first primary challenge, and from a former Trump administration official at that.
Catalina Lauf, who was appointed by then-President Donald Trump to serve as a U.S. Department of Commerce advisor back in 2018, announced her candidacy Tuesday against the “fake Republican,” “anti-Trump RINO” and “closet liberal.”
“As President, Donald Trump lifted millions out of poverty, invested historically in our schools, hospitals, and communities, restored America’s status as the strongest nation on earth, and defended the right to life, our Second Amendment, our borders, and our faith,” she said in a statement released on Tuesday, according to The Daily Caller.
“Almost 75 million Americans supported that America First Agenda – but it is clear now that Congressman Kinzinger is a closet liberal who would be better suited for a job as MSNBC or the Lincoln Project. Without question, he cannot be trusted to stand up for his constituents, for President Trump, or for our shared conservative values,” Lauf added.
“That’s why today, I am proud to announce my candidacy for United States Congress,” her statement continued. “Now more than ever, America needs true conservative leaders to oppose the radical agenda of Joe Biden and continue the legacy of President Trump – and as a former advisor to his Administration, I look forward to carrying that torch.”
The 27-year-old aspiring congresswoman also released her first campaign ad:
Fake Republican Adam Kinzinger won’t put AMERICA FIRST— I will.
That’s why I’m challenging him for his seat in Congress
I am the daughter of LEGAL immigrants, a small business owner, & PROUDLY served in the Trump administration.
— Catalina Lauf (@CatalinaLauf) February 23, 2021
“My name is Catalina Lauf, and this is Adam Kinzinger, a weak-kneed establishment Republican who cares more about his next MSNBC appearance than the voters who elected him. Not grounded in our home of Illinois, he looks for fame instead of remembering who he works for and the voters who elected him,” she says in the ad.
She isn’t wrong.
Kinzinger has made frequent appearances on MSNBC in the past few months, despite the network’s hosts and contributors habitually spouting incendiary, hyperbolic rhetoric about the Republican Party base.
Case in point:
.@NicolleDWallace would like to “kill” those who are “inciting violence” – which she says Donald Trump and others on the right are doing. No hyperbole – this is one of the more disturbing videos I’ve ever seen on cable news. https://t.co/cARasyoghE
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) February 5, 2021
Lauf continued the ad by calling out Kinzinger’s record of voting in line with Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s agenda and, worse, voting to impeach Trump.
“He said impeachment was necessary to save America. What? You know what I think is necessary to save America, Adam? Setting term limits to get people like you and the rest of your friends out. Six terms in Congress is enough!” she said.
Kinzinger’s been in office since 2011.
Besides voting to impeach Trump, he also voted with Democrats to strip Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments over bombastic remarks she’d made before stepping into office.
‘Dangerous precedent’ to strip committee seats from Greene, but some GOP lawmakers went right along https://t.co/QiOWxxFyiE
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) February 5, 2021
This won’t be Lauf’s first foray into the political world. She’d hoped to challenge incumbent Rep. Lauren Underwood, a Democrat, during the 2020 presidential election but failed to make it through the GOP primary.
At the time, she’d positioned herself as the antithesis of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who thrives on grievance mongering.
“I’m pro-America. … I’m fiercely driven by a love for my country, and I’m not driven by a hate for everything that it stands for like AOC and the rest of her friends on the other side,” she said during an appearance in August of 2019 on Fox News’ “Varney & Co.”
“Today, angry voices seek to divide us by skin color, economic class and where we come from. They use envy and bitterness trying to convince us to surrender our personal freedoms for the false promises of socialism,” she added in one of her 2020 ads.
“Our own representative in congress calls Republicans racist and sexist. They forget that America is an idea, an idea that we are all created equal, and that what we have in common is far more powerful than any of our differences. They forget what makes America great is all of us coming together.”
Meet Catalina Lauf, Congressional hopeful — dubbed GOP’s ‘anti-AOC’ https://t.co/6Cwlbg59Jy
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 24, 2019
Lauf’s willingness to stand up to Kinzinger has earned her the support and endorsement of a wide number of powerful figures in D.C. ranging from former Trump 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to Kimberly Klacik.
— Corey R. Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) February 23, 2021
She reminds me of @kimKBaltimore
— Semper Doodle 🇺🇸 (@Semper_Doodle) February 25, 2021
Funny, she’s my girl @CatalinaLauf 🇺🇸
— Kimberly Klacik (@kimKBaltimore) February 25, 2021
In an interview this week with the Chicago Tribune, Lauf tore into Kinzinger for being focused on all the wrong things.
“Over this last year — over the last two or three years, really — the country’s been in a lot of turmoil and we’re seeing that manifest itself in Congress. And now you have a representative like Adam who would rather spend his time and platform talking about impeachment and censoring Marjorie Taylor-Greene — another member of Congress. That’s not representing the values of our district, and it’s not servant leadership,” she said.
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