DIXON – David Hale said he was tired of throwing peanuts from the gallery.
The Rockford conservative and founder of the Rockford Tea Party is planning to challenge Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, in the 16th Congressional District primary.
Hale told about 30 people at the Sauk Valley Tea Party’s monthly meeting Tuesday at Dixon’s Loveland Community House and Museum that he’s disappointed in the job Kinzinger has done. Hale also hinted that the congressman may be eyeing a higher office – the Senate seat held by Mark Kirk.
Hale, who works in health care technology, is in favor of reducing the size of government, free enterprise and eliminating unnecessary regulations on businesses, he said Tuesday.
“The values and beliefs of the Tea Party,” he said.
Hale said Tuesday that Kinzinger also ran under the Tea Party banner, then abandoned those values in Washington, and even started to turn on them.
Kinzinger was among a Republican minority who voted for legislation to end the 2 1/2-week shutdown, allowing the government to borrow money through at least February.
The bill passed the House largely with the votes of Democrats.
Kinzinger said in a news release that House Republicans fought to the brink to protect Americans from Obamacare, the initial reason behind Republicans’ decision to allow a shutdown.
But Kinzinger defended his vote by saying that “surpassing our debt threshold would be incredibly damaging to our already weak economy ... .”
Also, Kinzinger publicly said he opposed Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s efforts to defund Obamacare through the government shutdown.
When an audience member asked why Hale believes Kinzinger is speaking out against the Tea Party, the Rockford Republican said Kinzinger may be trying to say the right things to get Kirk’s seat.
“This may be coming from left field,” Hale said before sharing his theory.
The GOP might see Kirk as difficult to re-elect after having a stroke and he could resign 6 to 8 months after the election, Hale said. The seat would require an appointment from the Republican party, possibly Kinzinger, Hale suggested.
“It is easier to run as an incumbent,” Hale said.
Hale, a U.S. Army veteran, told those in attendance he opposes war in general, including efforts in Syria he said were aiding al Qaeda. He criticized Kinzinger for supporting those efforts in Syria.
He said Kinzinger has had a propensity to spend, disagreeing with the congressman’s vote in favor of a $1 trillion farm bill, which included “pork barrel” spending on food stamps.
He called it “crowbar politics,” or making last-minute concessions with the other side to get a deal done.
Hale told those in attendance he would limit himself to 4 terms, if he were elected.
“No more than 8 years,” said the 50-year-old Hale. “I have better things to do with my life than to be wrangled in D.C.”
If elected, Hale said Tuesday he would approach government with a strategic process, apply clear conservative policies, honor the Reagan approach to the other side of the aisle and “never run from, shrink from or abandon the Tea Party message or principals.”
“I want to step up and lead, I feel that’s the only way to defend my nation,” said Hale, who made national headlines in 2011 when he caught the Wisconsin senators at a Rockford hotel who had fled their state during session in an attempt to stop a vote on reforms initiated by Gov. Scott Walker.
His answer to America’s growing $17 trillion debt: “Take small bites.”
He called for reducing taxes, cutting spending and getting rid of unnecessary regulations to invigorate business and create jobs. Taypayers foot the bill for the $400 billion in interest on the debt, he said.
“We have to grow and cut,” Hale said.
Kinzinger said groups, such as the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, are raising money by saying some Republican members of Congress “are not pure enough.” The Club of Growth and FreedomWorks have funded candidates in GOP primaries whom they consider more conservative than incumbent Republicans.
Hale said those groups are not supporting him. He defended those groups as strong “conservative establishments.”
Hale collected signatures in Dixon Tuesday. He has about 1,000 signatures. He needs 842 to get on the ballot, but he said he would like to collect at least 1,500 in case any of them are contested.