Politics

Wisconsin Democrat Ron Kind won’t run for 14th term in US House

MADISON, Wisconsin – United States Democratic Representative Ron Kind, who served more than 24 years in a district in southwestern Wisconsin that former President Donald Trump led in 2020, announced on Tuesday that he would not would not reappear next year.

Kind is one of seven House Democrats sitting in districts won by Trump. His departure only makes it harder for Democrats to maintain their majority in the House in next year’s midterm election.

“The truth is, I’m out of gas,” Kind said at a press conference in his hometown of La Crosse. Kind, a moderate, said he was part of a “dying race” of pragmatic politicians who believe in two-party politics and find common ground. He said politics shouldn’t be a “constant combat sport” where the goal is to destroy those on the other side.

Kind, the oldest Democrat in the Wisconsin delegation, was re-elected in 2020 with less than 3 points. Trump took away the sprawling district that borders Minnesota by nearly 5 points. Kind was a prime target for Republicans in 2022 as he faced a rematch with Derrick Van Orden.

“Today’s announcement is indicative of what I hear every day as I travel to District 3: The people of Wisconsin want a change,” Van Orden said in a statement.

Kind is one of a declining variety of Midwestern Democrats representing largely rural expanses who have shifted to Republicans over the past decade.

Like moderate Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos, of Moline, Ill., Kind represents counties along the Mississippi River that were once reliably Democrats, as small, working-class manufacturing towns have relocated. towards Trump in 2016. Kind and Bustos districts are among the seven in the country where voters split their vote in 2020, re-electing the Democratic House member and choosing Trump.

Bustos is also not seeking re-election in 2022 after 10 years in the House.

Kind was first elected in 1996. His announcement that he was not running for a 14th term came a day before the US Census Bureau released demographic data that will determine the boundaries of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts. Wisconsin neither wins nor loses a seat, but the lines of the existing eight districts could change dramatically.

Kind’s district has trended more conservative in recent years. Former President Barack Obama won it by 11 points in 2012, but Trump carried it by more than 4 points in both 2016 and 2020. Kind did not have an opponent in 2016, and won with nearly 60% of the vote in 2018, but he won by just 2.7 points over Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL, in 2020.

Kind, 58, has said he would have a more difficult time facing Van Orden in 2022.

“Kind’s retirement is the clearest sign yet that Democrats’ House majority is toast,” said Mike Berg, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District is one of three in the state held by Democrats. The two others are in Madison and Milwaukee. Republicans hold five districts.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Kind a “committed and effective champion,” crediting his work as a longtime member of the House Ways and Means Committee, advocating for small businesses, good-paying jobs and working to protect the environment, particularly along the Mississippi River.

Kind said he would serve out the remainder of his term, but did not take questions from reporters or say whether he would run for another office.

Kind earlier this year did not rule out a possible run for U.S. Senate next year for the seat currently held by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Kind has long been mentioned as a potential candidate for statewide office.

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