GOP’s Kinzinger backs Democrats in critical battlegrounds Secretary of State, Governor races

Retired Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois announced a slate of midterm endorsements Tuesday that includes six Democrats vying for governor or secretary of state in critical Southeastern and Midwestern swing states.

Through his newly formed political action committee, the House committee member who voted to impeach Donald Trump on Jan. 6 rolled out support for Democratic secretary of state candidates in Arizona, Nevada, Michigan and Minnesota, with notable support for Republican Brad Raffensberger of Georgia. the state’s current top elections official who certified the results of the 2020 election despite calls from Trump to overturn them. Kinzinger also supports Democrats for governor in Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Republicans and independents who have been fighting for the legitimacy of the 2020 election have also made the list of Kinzinger endorsements through his “Country 1st” PAC, which was first revealed in January 2021.

GOP’s Kinzinger backs Democrats in critical battlegrounds Secretary of State, Governor races

Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger speaks before the House Committee hearing on the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kinzinger of Illinois, a critic of Donald Trump who is one of two Republicans on the panel investigating the deadly Capitol attack, announced Oct. 29 that he will not seek re-election.

Chip Somodevilla/AP, FILE

The endorsement by Kinzinger, of the most forward-thinking critics of the former president, comes days after another GOP committee member on Jan. 6, Rep. Liz Cheney, told an audience in Arizona that she would vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs against a no-choice GOP nominee Kari Lake if she lived in the state.

“So, for almost 40 years now, I’ve voted Republican. I don’t know if I’ve ever voted for a Democrat — but if I lived in Arizona now, I absolutely would. And as governor and secretary of state,” Cheney said during a question-and-answer session at the McCain Institute at Arizona State University. “We cannot be in a position where we elect people who will not fundamentally uphold the sanctity of elections.”

PHOTO: Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs speaks to the media before submitting her primary ballot, July 21, 2022, in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs speaks to the media before turning in her primary ballot, July 21, 2022, in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Ross D. Franklin/AP, FILE

Cheney is also off the ballot in the upcoming midterm elections, following her primary defeat by Trump-backed Harriet Hageman.

Hobbs also brought up Kinzinger’s midterm endorsements, which also include Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat running for governor against recalcitrant state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

He also backed an independent House candidate running against right-wing GOP Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who was closely involved in the effort to challenge the Jan. 6 recount.

A number of federal candidates also made Kinzinger’s endorsement list: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who faces a Trump-backed challenge in her re-election bid, and Evan McMullin, an independent, who is challenging Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

In an interview with Politico, Kinzinger said he chose 2022 endorsements based in part on where there will be “positions that can frankly be bulwarks to defend against a real constitutional crisis in 2024.”

“A badly placed secretary of state in bad faith can really throw the whole country into chaos,” he said.

ABC News’ Libby Cathey contributed to this report.

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