Democratic Rep. Ron Kind won't seek reelection in Wisconsin

Democratic Rep. Ron Kind won't seek reelection in Wisconsin
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindNonprofit founder launches bid to replace Rep. Kind in Wisconsin Bottom line Wisconsin governor seeks to intervene in redistricting case MORE (D-Wis.), one of only seven House Democrats representing a district carried by former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE last year, will not seek reelection next year, two Democratic sources familiar with his plans said Tuesday.

Kind's decision to retire is a blow to Democrats' efforts to retain their historically narrow House majority in next year's midterm elections. Republicans need to flip only five seats to win the House majority in 2022, making every retirement by an incumbent Democrat in a competitive district all the more consequential.

Kind, who has served in the House since 1997, narrowly won reelection with 51 percent of the vote in November over his GOP challenger, Derrick Van Orden. That marked a sharp contrast with 2018, when Kind won reelection handily by nearly 20 points.

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Trump carried Kind's district, which includes La Crosse and Eau Claire, with 51.5 percent of the vote last year, a slight increase from the 49 percent in 2016.

Word of Kind's retirement plans, which were confirmed by multiple Democratic sources ahead of his announcement, became public shortly before the Wisconsin Democrat held a press conference on Tuesday.

Kind said that he and his family "don't know" what will come after his House term ends in 2022 beyond that he and his wife will be "finding new ways to give back and contribute" to their community.

"I'm not done yet. We've got 16 months to go," Kind said.

Kind previously said earlier this year that he would be "taking a look" at running for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonMost Senate Republicans don't want to see Trump run again Hillicon Valley — Presented by American Edge Project — TSA to issue cybersecurity directives to secure rail, aviation sectors Bill requiring companies report cyber incidents moves forward in the Senate MORE (R-Wis.). 

Kind's retirement announcement follows other swing-district Democrats opting against seeking reelection next year, following Reps. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosIllinois Democrats propose new 'maximized' congressional map Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — A warning shot on Biden's .5T plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden continues to grapple with Afghanistan chaos MORE (Ill.), Ann KirkpatrickAnn Kirkpatrick Ariz. state senator who saved Gabby Giffords's life ends congressional bid due to COVID-19 surge Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms Democratic Rep. Ron Kind won't seek reelection in Wisconsin MORE (Ariz.) and Conor Lamb (Pa.).

Lamb announced last week that he will run for Pennsylvania's open Senate seat next year instead of reelection to his House seat.

Bustos published a report on Tuesday titled "How Dems Win in Trump Districts," which included testimonials from Kind and other front-line Democrats in districts where Trump won a majority of the vote.

Kind cited showing "bipartisanship and courage," making his campaigns "accessible and people-focused," and appearing "authentic and relatable" as keys to his success in winning a competitive district.

"Another key component to my success is a willingness to stand up for what is right no matter the consequences," Kind wrote, citing his vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, "when Democrats nationally were hiding from this vote."

"I took to the airwaves in my campaign and defended my position," Kind wrote.

Van Orden, who is already running again for the seat currently held by Kind, has come under scrutiny for his presence on the Capitol grounds during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Van Orden acknowledged that he was in the crowd at the Capitol but maintained that he left the area "when it became clear that a protest had become a mob" and didn't enter the building.

Van Orden further disputed a Daily Beast report finding that photos and videos from social media show him in a restricted area of the Capitol grounds that would have required crossing police barricades.