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32nd State Senate: With primary win, Pfaff will compete against Kapanke
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32nd State Senate

32nd State Senate: With primary win, Pfaff will compete against Kapanke

From the Election Day in the Coulee Region: Aug. 11 Primary Results series

Democrat Brad Pfaff will head for the general election where he’ll challenge Republican Dan Kapanke for the vacant 32nd Senate District seat.

Brad Pfaff

Candidate for Wisconsin State Senate District 32, Brad Pfaff.

Pfaff beat out two political newcomers, nurse and Gays Mills native Jayne Swiggum and La Crosse native Paul Michael Weber, in Tuesday’s primary, capturing 12,631 of the votes.

Jayne Swiggum

Candidate for Wisconsin State Senate District 32, Jayne Swiggum.

“I’m extremely humbled,” Pfaff said about winning the voters’ support on Tuesday.

“They’re looking to the future, and that’s what this fall election’s all about,” he added. “It’s about making sure that the future of the 32nd state Senate district and Western Wisconsin continue to stay bright.”

Pfaff and Kapanke have met on the ballot before for the same seat in 2004 — where Kapanke won by just around 5% and subsequently held the seat until his recall in 2011.

Dan Kapanke

Dan Kapanke

Pfaff has a long history in politics. He has served on the La Crosse County Board, as well as the executive director for the state’s Farm Service Agency at the USDA from 2009-2017.

Most recently, Pfaff was appointed by Gov. Tony Evers to head the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in 2018. State Republicans rejected the nomination after disagreeing with Pfaff’s stance on mental health in the farming community.

Despite the rematch and the partisanship Pfaff has been roped into before, he said his run is about working together, saying he plans to work with anyone who’s willing to get the job done.

“They’re looking for someone who’s going to unite,” Pfaff said of voters. “They’re looking for someone who’s going to bring us together around a common goal and a common purpose.”

The Senate seat the two are vying for was recently vacated when former Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, who has thrown her support behind Pfaff, stepped down earlier this year.

The two will continue their campaigns — which Pfaff has largely conducted virtually because of the pandemic while Kapanke has been holding in-person events and knocking on doors — until they meet again on the ballot Nov. 3.


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