Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Tuesday said it is “disgusting” for Democratic groups to support election-denier candidates during Republican primaries in hopes of winning general elections.
Democratic groups in recent weeks have bought advertisements backing pro-Trump candidates running in Republican primaries across the country, with the idea being that Democrats will have an easier time beating the far-right Republicans in the general election.
Groups have taken out ads for Trump-supported candidates in Arizona, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Michigan, according to Axios.
Kinzinger — one of two Republicans sitting on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, which took place because of election denial — said Democrats propping up election-denying candidates “don’t understand the real threat” at hand.
“I think it’s disgusting,” Kinzinger told CNN when asked about his thoughts on Democrats backing pro-Trump candidates.
“You’re gonna have election deniers win. So while I think a certain number of Democrats truly understand that democracy is threatened, don’t come to me after having spent money supporting an election denier in a primary, and then come to me and say, ‘where are all the good Republicans,’ you’re worried about democracy,” he said.
“I truly believe that all these issues we argue about, they matter. But the thing that matters the most right now is the threat to our democracy. It’s the thing our kids will judge us by and when we’re sitting here playing DCCC, you know, DNC politics, let’s promote the crazy, and then that person wins, you don’t understand the real threat. I’m sorry, you don’t understand the threat to democracy,” he added, referring to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The DCCC recently took out an ad in Michigan that painted Republican John Gibbs as a candidate fully aligned with former President Trump, using information from his Twitter account and campaign website. It touts information that a pro-Trump candidate would want to highlight, despite saying “the Gibbs-Trump agenda is too conservative for West Michigan.”
The ex-president has endorsed Gibbs, who is running against Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), a freshman congressman who voted to impeach Trump following the Capitol riot.
Kinzinger pointed to the DCCC’s involvement in the GOP primary on behalf of Gibbs, in addition to Democrats propping up Republican gubernatorial candidates Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Darren Bailey in Illinois.
Asked on Tuesday if the DCCC is doing anything to help GOP candidates that Democrats view as easier to beat in the general election, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chair of the DCCC, told MSNBC, “I think you might see us do that, sure.”
He noted, however, that the group has “a high bar for that,” adding “I think if you’re gonna do that you need to really understand what you’re doing.”
“If you’re talking about trying to pick your opponent, you might see us do that, sure. And I think sometimes it does make sense. And largely what you’re doing is telling voters of fact that if they’re aware of, it’s important to them. I think you might see us do that, sure,” he said.