Sen. Brad Pfaff and ex-Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden are running to represent Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.
Retired Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden has defeated state Sen. Brad Pfaff in the race for the open seat in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.
Van Orden is headed to the U.S. House of Representatives two years after he lost a race for the same seat to incumbent Democratic Rep. Ron Kind, who had represented the seat for more than 20 years before retiring this year.
Van Orden frequently drew criticism from Pfaff for his participation in the protest that led to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
In 2020, Kind was one of the few Democrats in the country to hold a congressional district won by former President Donald Trump — making the seat one of the top targets for Republicans this year.
Van Orden’s win was forecasted ahead of Election Day, but the four point win was made easier by a lack of national Democratic support in the district. Just weeks ahead of the election, House Majority PAC, the fundraising organization connected to House Democrats, pulled $1.8 million in ad spending that had been planned for the race.
On Wednesday morning, Pfaff said in a statement about his defeat that Democratic voters in the district still turned out in an “unprecedented way.”
“From day one, Washington prognosticators and political insiders told us we couldn’t win and that this rural, western Wisconsin seat was trending away from Democrats,” Pfaff said. “Despite being outspent 4-1, western Wisconsin showed up in an unprecedented way. This campaign has been about one thing: bringing western and central Wisconsin values to Congress and bringing real results home to this district. It’s a simple message, and we all knew early on that it wouldn’t be easy to make this vision a reality. But that didn’t stop us: we crisscrossed this district countless times, speaking with supporters, voters, local media, and community leaders about what was at stake in this election. We left it all on the field, and I am so proud of the race that we ran.”
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