A 27-year-old former Trump administration staffer on Tuesday, Feb. 23, announced her 2022 primary challenge to Republican Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

Catalina Lauf, who previously served as a top advisor to the United States Department of Commerce under the Trump administration, launched her campaign following Kinzinger’s impeachment vote against the former president. 

“As President Donald Trump lifted millions out of poverty, invested historically in our schools, hospitals, and communities, restored America’s status as the strongest nation on earth, and defended the right to life, our Second Amendment, our borders, and our faith,” Lauf’s statement read.

“Almost 75 million Americans supported that America First Agenda—but it is clear now that Congressman Kinzinger is a closet liberal who would be better suited for a job as MSNBC or the Lincoln Project. Without question, he cannot be trusted to stand up for his constituents, for President Trump, or for our shared conservative values,” it added.

Lauf called Kinzinger a “Rino,” “weak-kneed, establishment Republican” who does not support the “America First” movement. She said Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming “should be playing no role” in the future of the Republican Party or the country.

Cheney and Kinzinger were two of the 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump a second time. Kinzinger also was among 11 House Republicans who joined Democrats in stripping Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her House Committee assignments. 

Lauf previously ran for Congress in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District in 2020 and came third in a field of seven. Even with the loss, she emerged from the primary with a promising political future. Her video announcing the 2022 campaign against Kinzinger skyrocketed to more than 550,000 views on Wednesday. 

Kinzinger, 43, first elected to Congress in 2010, is among the most vocal Republican critics of Trump. He labeled the storming of the U.S. Capitol building a “coup attempt.”

Kinzinger has faced intense backlash after voting in support of Trump’s second impeachment. 11 members of his family wrote not one but two letters denouncing him for his impeachment vote.

“Seriously, Adam, really! You are the one being misled (brainwashed) by the Democrats and the fake news media. Again, we thought you were smart enough to realize they were manipulating your mind. We have not disowned you. You have disowned yourself,’” Kinzinger’s relatives wrote.

“ … If anyone is inciting violence and dividing this country, it is … the fake news media and the Democrats!! It is beyond our comprehension that you have submitted and conformed to the leftist Democrats’ ideals. The fact that you have done this is reprehensible,” they added, accusing him of giving up his “Christian [principles] for self-gain” and calling him a “Rino.”

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