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Ill. primary: Freshman congressman knocks off veteran in GOP battle

March 21, 2012|By Kim Geiger
(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg,…)

Reporting from Washington — Voters in Illinois’ 16thCongressional District sided with freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Tuesday night in a battle of GOP incumbents that was forced by redistricting.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Kinzinger had defeated 10-term veteran Rep. Don Manzullo by a convincing margin of 56% to 44%.

Kinzinger, a 34-year-old veteran of the Iraq war, had won the endorsement of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. And he launched successful ad campaigns touting his military service and attacking Manzullo’s past votes to raise the debt limit.

Kinzinger also might have benefited from the assistance of an anti-incumbent “super PAC,” the Campaign for Primary Accountability, which spent $239,000 advertising against Manzullo.

Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. survived a challenge from former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, who lost her seat to Kinzinger in 2010. Due to redistricting, some portions of Halvorson’s old district had been merged into the 2nd Congressional District occupied by Jackson.

The Campaign for Primary Accountability backed Halvorson in that race, but spent much less -- about $90,000 -- according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Jackson won handily – 87% to 13% with 99% of precincts reporting -- in what was billed as the most competitive primary challenge of his 17-year career.

kim.geiger@latimes.com

Update: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated that House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy had endorsed Kinzinger. McCarthy's leadership PAC contributed $5,000 to Kinzinger's campaign before it was clear that Kinzinger would be matched up against Manzullo, but McCarthy did not endorse Kinzinger.

Ill. primary: Freshman congressman knocks off veteran in GOP battle


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