EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., is endorsing Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s, R-Ill., primary challenger as Kinzinger takes heat from his fellow Republicans for participating in the House commission on the January 6 Capitol Riots.
Cawthorn, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, made the endorsement on Wednesday, throwing his support behind Kinzinger’s primary opponent, Catalina Lauf.
Lauf is a former Department of Commerce appointee in the Trump administration and announced her bid against Kinzinger earlier this year.
Cawthorn told Fox News in a Wednesday statement that “America faces a tough choice in 2022, a choice between electing voices for all the people or voices for only the powerful.”
“Establishment hacks, who prioritize the approval of CNN, Nancy Pelosi, and radical Democrats in Congress have more in common with socialist activists than American Patriots,” Cawthorn said. “Elected officials who side with Pelosi and sideline the American people, have no place in the Republican Party.”
The freshman Republican excoriated Kinzinger, saying the Illinois congressman “has no place in the Republican Party” before giving his endorsement of Lauf.
“I am the first to condemn D.C. insider Kinzinger and the first to endorse a powerful America first, political outsider, in Catalina Lauf,” Cawthorn said. “I assure you I will not be the last. She is dedicated to working for, not against, the interests of the people of Illinois, and I know that she will be a powerful fighter in Washington.”
“The day of the pandering politician is over, it is time for American lions to rise,” the congressman added. “And in 2022, this nation will hear the roar of freedom.”
Lauf told Fox News in a Wednesday statement that she is “honored” to have Cawthorn’s endorsement.
“Since he was elected, Madison has shown passion, tenacity, authenticity, and courage. He has been a lion on the Hill, a fighting voice the American people desperately deserve,” Lauf said. “Our campaign has been about emulating congressmen and women like Madison: being dutiful servants of the American people, possessing grit in the face of adversity, and putting the needs of our constituents first.
“We are grateful for the faith Congressman Cawthorn has shown in our campaign and our mission to take on Pelosi Republican, Adam Kinzinger,” Lauf added. “I look forward to fighting for our values beside him in Congress.”
The endorsement comes as Kinzinger serves as one of only two Republicans on the special committee after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pulled his picks when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., nixed two of them — Trump allies Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
Pelosi appointed Kinzinger to the bipartisan commission recently after rejecting McCarthy’s picks. McCarthy subsequently pulled his other three picks from the special committee, Republican Reps. Troy Nehls of Texas, Rodney Davis of Illinois, and Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota.
Joining Kinzinger on the commission is McCarthy’s former number three in the House, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. Both Cheney and Kinzinger are loud critics of the former president.
Kinzinger’s campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.