Race heats up for Wisconsin congressional seat

The election for Rep. Ron Kind’s seat is more than a year away, but both parties have started competing for votes
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 4:17 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The news of Rep. Ron Kind’s (D-Wisc.) retirement announcement is being met with the question: What’s next?

Less than 24 hours after Kind’s announcement, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the D.C. political organization charged with helping Democrats win House seats, sent out an email attacking Derrick Van Orden.

Van Orden is a Republican who lost to Kind by three points in 2020. He is running again in 2022 and has the support of former Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.)

“This will be a great opportunity for Trump to come to Wisconsin. I think you’re going to see Biden, you know, coming to the District,” Duffy said. “I mean, if you look at the House, you have a handful of seats that give Democrats the majority. This is going to be one of the most hotly contested seats in the country.”

Democrats, meanwhile, will need to figure out who they believe is best to carry on Kind’s more than two-decade-long winning streak in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.

“There’s no next best Democrat already lined up to run against him,” said Professor Mark Rom, a political science expert at Georgetown University. “Kind has won nomination, renomination easily year after year. He hasn’t faced a credible threat from either the left or the more conservative part of the Democratic Party. So it was his race to run again.”

Gray Television Washington News Bureau’s David Ade also asked Rom whether Kind’s hold on the seat says more about Kind or the makeup of the district.

“I think Ron Kind did a great job of connecting with people of his district, but that district has trended to become slightly more conservative overtime. It’s considered to be a tossup district now,” Rom said. “It’s not clear at all that even with his seniority, and with his ability to raise money, that he was going to be able to win again in 2022.”

Kind said he will serve out the remainder of his current term. The primary is scheduled for next August.

Kind is one of seven Democrats holding a district which former President Donald Trump won in 2020. He’s now the second of those seven to announce he’s leaving Congress after next year. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) also said she will leave after her current term.

Multimedia Journalist Natalie Grim contributed to this report.

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