Kinzinger Faces Challenges From Left And Right: How Safe Is He?

May 2, 2017

Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger is facing challenges in the 16th Illinois Congressional District from a local Democrat and his own party.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, left, and challenger Nathan Arroyave

Rockford-based Nathan Arroyave has said he plans to run a “very progressive” campaign. Like Bernie Sanders, Arroyave wants a single-payer health-care system and a $15 minimum hourly wage.  

NIU political scientist Matt Streb says Kinzinger is safe, but House Republicans could have trouble next year if President Trump’s ratings don’t improve.

“Kinzinger still has a ton of money," Streb says. "It’s still a heavily Republican area."

Streb doesn't see Democrats investing much time or resources in Kinzinger's district. He notes that Peter Roskam, whose district was won by Hillary Clinton last year, would make a better target for Democrats.

Kinzinger also is the target of an ad campaign from members of his own party. They call him out for supporting House Speaker Paul Ryan's rejected health-care plan, which they view as "too moderate."

Streb says he doesn't view Kinzinger as a moderate, but the polarization is a sign of the times. 

"And you’re going to see not just Adam Kinzinger and Republicans facing this,” he said, “but you’ll see Democrats on the left facing this as well.” 

Streb says Kinzinger remains popular in the 16th District and has sufficient funds to fend off primary challenges.