(WQOW) – For a 13th time, Democrat Representative Ron Kind has claimed Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.
He defeated Republican challenger Derrick Van Orden by slightly less than 11,000 votes in unofficial totals.
Kind issued a statement shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday morning declaring his victory. “It’s been the honor of my life to represent the area where I was born and raised and where Tawni and I have raised our family. To that end, I want to thank the people of this district for sending me back to Washington. I know firsthand the challenges working families in Wisconsin face, and I am committed to fighting for the farmers, veterans, families, businesses, and workers who move our state forward. I’m truly humbled by the opportunity to continue working for the people of Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District, standing up to powerful special interests, bridging the partisan divide, and bringing our Wisconsin way of life to the halls of Congress.”
For his part, Van Orden was very confident as results started rolling in. Earlier on Tuesday night, at his watch party at the Florian Gardens in Eau Claire, Van Orden asserted that he would win. "We're going to win," said Van Orden. "We are going to win. I got up this morning. I rode my motorcycle to our township polling station, voted with my wife and our youngest son and it was so beautiful I just decided to keep on riding. So I rode the hour and a half here. I cleared my head I stopped at a whole bunch of people's (homes) where I saw Van Orden signs. I walked up and knocked on their doors and said 'Thank you very much for having my sign in your yard'."
Kind was first elected to office 24 years ago in 1996.
"Whoever is in elected office has a great responsibility for mending that rift and bringing people back together again," Congressman Kind said Tuesday evening. "That responsibility falls on all of us as citizens to explore those areas of common ground and get things accomplished especially at the height of a pandemic."
Since then, Kind has run unopposed in the general election just once – in 2016.
He has won by as much as 44 points (1998) and by as few as 3 points (2010).
Both Kind and Van Orden faced competition in this year’s primary. Kind easily beat Mark Neumann (81-19%) and Van Orden took down his fellow Republican Jessi Ebben (66-34%).
Kind currently serves on the Committee on Ways and Means, a spot he has held since 2011. It is the oldest committee in Congress and is described as the “chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives.” It was first established in 1789.
Kind lists nine different issues of focus on his campaign website; veterans, health care, fiscal responsibility, education, jobs and economy, seniors, infrastructure, agriculture and sportsman and conservation.
He is a La Crosse native who played quarterback for Harvard in college. He worked for former Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire in Washington while he was in college. After that, Kind worked in law before his election to Congress.
When he is not in Washington, Kind and his wife still live in La Crosse.