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Wisconsin 3rd Congressional District voters Tuesday nominated a well-known Republican who’s expected to be Rep. Ron Kind’s most formidable opponent to date.

State Sen. Dan Kapanke of La Crosse led Holmen resident Bruce Evers, a former bank executive in his first campaign for office, 39,691 to 11,769 votes with 94 percent of precincts reporting.

“I look at this very simplistically, that when you run a race like this and you do it since April 1, you do it with virtually no money and you get 25 percent of the vote, it says something,” Evers said.

The risk was low Tuesday for Kapanke, widely considered the presumptive candidate to challenge Kind, the incumbent looking for his eighth term in Congress.

Kind has a wide fundraising lead overKapanke, who tried to build his own war chest Tuesday night, joking with supporters to add a zero to their donations.

“We have to have the better ground game and the better message and to raise as much money as we can,” he said.

Voters are more tuned in and more informed this election, Kapanke said; they’re not going to be won with commercials and advertisements.

The La Crosse Loggers owner and two-term state lawmaker had kind words for his primary opponent, saying he respected Evers as a businessman.

Kapanke has challenged Kind to debates in all 19 counties in the district.

Kind responded Tuesday night by saying he’d like three October debates with Kapanke and Independent candidate Michael Krsiean.

“The people of western Wisconsin deserve a good, honest debate,” Kind said in a statement.

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