Trump endorses Van Orden in Wisconsin race to succeed Rep. Ron Kind
Former President Trump on Thursday threw his support behind Republican Derrick Van Orden in the race for Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District after Democratic Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.) announced he will not seek reelection.
“Derrick is a former Navy SEAL Senior Chief who bravely served and defended our Country. He strongly supports our Military, Veterans, Law Enforcement, and he will always fight for Secure Borders, the Second Amendment, and our incredible Farmers,” Trump said in a statement. “Derrick has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
Van Orden challenged Kind in 2020, but ultimately lost to the longtime congressman by less than 3 percentage points. He quickly announced that he would run for the seat again in 2022 and racked up endorsements from prominent Republicans such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.).
Kind, one of seven House Democrats to represent a district won by Trump last year, announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in 2022, saying that he and his wife will be “finding new ways to give back and contribute” to their community.
His looming retirement is a major blow to Democrats, who are gearing up for a tough fight next year as they look to hold onto their narrow House majority. Even before announcing his retirement, House Republicans had indicated that they would target his district aggressively.
Van Orden has faced scrutiny in recent months after it was revealed he had been on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot by a mob of Trump supporters. He has acknowledged that he was in the crowd on the Capitol grounds, but left “when it became clear that a protest had become a mob.”
He has also denied entering the Capitol itself on Jan. 6 and has disputed a Daily Beast report finding that photos and videos from social media show him in a restricted area of the Capitol complex that would have required him to cross police barricades.