A strong supporter of former President Donald Trump has announced primary plans to oppose Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., one of Trump's most vocal critics.
With the Republican Party split between Trump loyalists and establishment politicians, Catalina Lauf's intention could be a sign of things to come.
"Over this last year — over the last two or three years, really — the country's been in a lot of turmoil and we're seeing that manifest itself in Congress," Lauf told the Chicago Tribune in a phone interview.
"And now you have a representative like Adam who would rather spend his time and platform talking about impeachment and censoring [Rep.] Marjorie Taylor Greene [R-Ga.] — another member of Congress. That's not representing the values of our district, and it's not servant leadership."
Lauf, who first announced her plans Wednesday morning on Twitter, made an unsuccessful primary bid last year in the 14th Congressional District where she lives. On Tuesday, she filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to establish a fundraising committee for 2022.
Living outside the district did not prevent Lauf from running for the 16th District seat. The Constitution requires House candidates to be at least age 25, a U.S. resident for seven years, and to live in the state where they want to serve.
Kinzinger was among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. He also was among 11 House GOP members who joined Democrats in stripping Greene of her House committee assignments.
First elected to Congress in 2010, Kinzinger has drawn censures and rebukes from local Republicans who vowed to support a GOP challenger.
Lauf was asked if party leaders, or Trump himself, talked her into running. "I was encouraged, yes, but it was a personal decision," she said.
Trump is scheduled to be the headline speaker at the Conservative Political Action Committee in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday. Supporters will monitor the former president's speech to find out if he plans to encourage primary challenges to some of his congressional opponents, such as Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
Longtime Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski tweeted support to Lauf.
"Strong candidate in @CatalinaLauf. She can win and will support the America First Agenda," Lewandowski wrote.
A Kinzinger spokesperson said in a statement the congressman had a proven record of "leadership and integrity, serving the interests of his constituents and his country — not the sole interests of one man."
An appointee in the Trump administration's Department of Commerce, Lauf spoke during the opening night of the Republican National Convention last August, just months after her failed primary bid.
Lauf said she supported Trump's stances on illegal immigration, including a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and has said she did not oppose legal immigration.
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