Kinzinger likely to represent new 16th Congressional District
By Brandon Reid
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, 34, of Manteno, Ill., defeated 10-term Congressman U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., 53.9-46.1 percent in the March 20 primary.
Kinzinger, a freshman Congressman first elected to office in 2010 during a tea party-backed Republican surge, will not face a Democratic opponent in the November general election. Rich Carter, Manzullo’s spokesman, said Manzullo will not run as an Independent in the general election, meaning Kinzinger is likely to assume the redistricted 16th Congressional District seat in January 2013.
In his victory speech March 20, Kinzinger declared: “Tonight’s results illustrate that Americans are looking for a new generation of leaders who are focused on bettering our country, rather than themselves; leaders who will reform Washington from the ground up and unequivocally place the people above politics.
“Tonight, folks all across the new 16th Congressional District opted to send a fresh voice to Washington who will work tirelessly to carry out the people’s agenda,” Kinzinger said. “This is not MY seat in Washington. This seat belongs to the people of the 16th Congressional District.
“Gone are the days of being controlled by Washington establishment think-tank groups — I work for you and will not answer to these insider and out-of-touch organizations,” Kinzinger said.
Manzullo had garnered the support of 14 conservative groups, including FreedomWorks, the American Conservative Union and the Illinois Tea Party. However, Kinzinger, a former Air Force pilot who still serves in the Air National Guard as a captain, received a late endorsement from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Cantor’s backing of Kinzinger reportedly enraged Manzullo, who said in a March 20 Politico report by David Cantanese that “It’s ripped the conference in half. I’ve never seen members of Congress so outright mad and outraged in my life. Absolute, total outrage. Outrage to the point that they want to dump Cantor.”
Manzullo, 67, currently represents 44 percent of what will be the new 16th Congressional District, while Kinzinger, who serves in the 11th Congressional District, currently represents 31 percent of the new 16th Congressional District.
Following his defeat March 20, Manzullo said: “We’re not used to a Chicago-style campaign against us. We’re just not used to that.”
Manzullo waited until 99 percent of the votes were counted to concede the race.
In his victory speech March 20, Kinzinger added: “2012 is an extremely critical year for the future of our country. We simply cannot afford to sit back and continue to let more debt pile on to the backs of our kids and grandkids. Ultimately, history will judge us by whether we decided to stand up and fight to chart a new course — like we are beginning here tonight in Illinois — or stood by and allowed the same go-along, get-along politics to consume Washington.
“We must continue to make the bold but necessary budget cuts that will refuel our economy and leave future generations with the same opportunities many of us have been blessed with,” Kinzinger said.
Kinzinger was sworn into office in January 2011 and was named to the Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Transition Team, and is a Republican deputy whip.
According to OpenSecrets.org, Kinzinger raised $1,317,960 in the 2011-12 campaign cycle, spent $1,041,551 and has $314,807 cash on hand. Comparatively, Manzullo raised $866,811 in the 2011-12 campaign cycle, spent $742,968 and has $333,916 cash on hand.
Kinzinger’s top five contributors in the 2011-12 campaign were Exelon Corp., $20,750; Horton Group, $14,000; Comcast Corp., $10,750; Stark Construction, $10,750; and Agri-Business Solutions, $10,000. His top five industries were Leadership PACs, $46,000; TV/Movies/Music, $41,250; Electric Utilities, $41,000; Securities & Investment, $40,750; and Health Professionals, $37,600.
Fifty-two percent of Kinzinger’s campaign contributions were large individual contributions totaling $680,969. Overall, 57 percent of Kinzinger’s contributions came from individuals, 41 percent from PAC contributions and 1 percent from “other.”
According to The Washington Post’s U.S. Congress Votes Database, Kinzinger votes with the Republican Party 91 percent of the time. Meantime, Manzullo votes with the Republican Party 93 percent of the time.
Manzullo was often referred to by his colleagues on Capitol Hill as “Mad Dog,” a nickname first given to him in 1993 during his first term.
Manzullo explained the nickname as follows in a March 20, 2012, Politico report by David Cantanese:
“When I was first elected, I led Republican and Democratic freshmen to eliminate four select subcommittees that saved $1-$2 billion a year,” Manzullo said in the Politico report. “So, Congressman Bill Baker of California said, ‘Manzullo’s a mad dog when it comes to spending.’ I mean, I’m not a mad person, I just don’t like all that unnecessary spending.
“There are very few members of Congress that have nicknames,” Manzullo continued. “That name stuck because I’m such a ferocious conservative when it comes to wasting money.”
According to Politico, the nickname stuck, as Manzullo’s “hardheaded approach” often led him to be “cantankerous” with both colleagues and constituents when his patience ran out.
Manzullo, however, also wore the name proudly, according to Politico, once naming his congressional softball team “The Manzullo Mad Dogs.”
Manzullo serves on the Committee on Financial Services and Committee on Foreign Affairs. Since January 2011, he has served as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
From the March 28-April 3, 2012, issue
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