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Van Orden receives Trump endorsement in battleground WI-3 House race

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GOP roundtable

Republican Congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden is flanked by state Reps. Tony Kurtz, left, and Loren Oldenburg, Monday at Morning Star Dairy in rural Onalaska during an agriculture and rural issues roundtable hosted by the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Van Orden, R-Prairie du Chien, a loyal Trump ally, is now the only candidate in the race for the seat after longtime Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, announced his retirement earlier this week.

“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. Derrick has my Complete and Total Endorsement,” Trump said in a statement that Van Orden’s team sent out Thursday.

Trump’s endorsement is further indication that the race for Wisconsin’s 3rd will be a key battleground for Republicans and Democrats alike as the fate of the House is up for grabs.

Van Orden narrowly lost to Kind in the 2020 election in a district keenly watched by both parties. While re-electing Kind for more than two decades, voters in the 3rd District supported Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 elections, demonstrating the flexibility of the region.

“I am incredibly proud to receive his endorsement for my congressional run,” Van Orden said in his statement.

“He worked tirelessly to ensure that the future of our children and grandchildren will be a bright one by demonstrating the strong leadership that is desperately needed in America and I will do the same when I am in Congress,” he said.

Trump rallies at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway

President Donald Trump arrives at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem for Tuesday’s rally.

“We are seeing the disastrous results of the radical policies in Washington D.C.; skyrocketing inflation, a manmade humanitarian crisis at the border, and rising crime across the nation,” Van Orden said. “I will work tirelessly to stop Nancy Pelosi’s tax and spend leadership in the House and I am looking forward to having you all on The Team.”

A staunch Trump supporter, Van Orden has been vocal that his inspiration to run for Congress in the first place was after Kind voted to impeach Trump in 2019. Van Orden also spoke at Trump’s rally in West Salem last fall.

It’s also been widely reported that Van Orden was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, at what started as a “Stop the Steal” rally in support of Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, but turned into a violent insurrection. Van Orden has denied he was present during the attack but Democrats have cast their doubts on that claim, and some media reports have connected timelines and photos that appear to contradict it.

Van Orden has also raked in endorsements from other notable Republicans including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and is already receiving strong financial support, earning three quarters of a million dollars in the second quarter already.

Many eyes are on who Democrats will tap to try and fill their spot on the ballot. In the 2020 primary, Van Orden beat out Jessi Ebben by 30% in the Republican primary.

"We are seeing the disastrous results of the radical policies in Washington D.C.; skyrocketing inflation, a manmade humanitarian crisis at the border, and rising crime across the nation."

Derrick Van Orden, candidate for Congress

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