Kina Collins

Kina Collins' Bid to Unseat Rep. Danny Davis Draws National Attention

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While Illinois has several Congressional races that have drawn attention, one challenger’s push to unseat Rep. Danny Davis is gaining traction on the national level.

Kina Collins, an activist born in Austin who has gained a local following because of her work in combating gun violence, is turning heads in her race to potentially unseat Davis thanks to her messaging and prodigious fundraising, as she’s raked in more campaign cash than he has in recent months.

“Right now, we are feeling absentee leadership in the Illinois 7th,” she said. “Representative Davis has been my Congressman since I’ve been 5 years old…and it’s time to pass the torch.”

It was Collins’ work as a gun violence prevention activist that once prompted Davis to invite her to an event.

“I stepped into this work after being a child witnessing a murder in my neighborhood, knowing the victim, knowing the shooter, and the murder changed the trajectory of my life,” she said.

Davis beat her handily in the 2020 primary, and while there is a third Democrat on the ballot, Denarvis Mendenhall, Collins has attracted national starpower and fundraising to her cause. That includes donations from the Justice Democrats, a national Political Action Committee that most notably helped New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez win public office.

Thanks to that fundraising, Collins has been able to do something that no other Democratic primary challenger has done: run television ads against Davis.

Even still, Davis still has plenty of allies nationally, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has endorsed the incumbent in his reelection fight.

Collins says that she feels it’s time for a new voice in the district, but says that she wants to work with Davis no matter the outcome of the election.

“I’m not trying to walk behind him, or in front of him,” she said. “I want to walk side-by-side with him and build a vision for the Democratic party nationwide, not just here in Illinois.”

Davis’ campaign has declined interview requests from NBC 5 Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern, but says that they are confident that the incumbent has nothing to worry about in next week’s election.  

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