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Former CIA officer joining race to take over Ron Kind’s seat in Congress



MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A former CIA officer and daughter of a former congressman is joining the Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional Seat that’s expected to be one of the hardest-fought races in the country next year.

Deb McGrath, from Menomonie, announced her candidacy on Tuesday. She is seeking to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Ron Kind, who is wrapping up his 13th term.

McGrath worked in national security positions for 25 years in both the CIA and the Department of State. She also served as a captain in the U.S. Army.

“I’ve served in the Army, State Department and the CIA for 25 years,” McGrath said in a statement. “While abroad, I witnessed how countries could thrive or decline based on government responsiveness. Our country struggles to find solutions to issues that impact our national security: adequate education, affordable health care, basic infrastructure, and economic opportunity.

“I have experience in solving problems through rational collaboration. I am running for Congress to take on these challenges and keep our nation strong.”

If elected, McGrath, a mother of three, would be the first woman to represent the district.

Her father, the late Al Baldus, represented the district from 1975 to 1981 in Congress.

Her mother, Lolly, served in education for over 20 years. Both of her parents came from farm families.

While in the Army, McGrath served in the demilitarized zone in Korea and at several U.S. military bases.

In the CIA, her assignments included Southeast and South Asia, West Africa, the former Soviet Union, and Central Europe, including two combat zones.

Other Democrats already in the race are state Sen. Brad Pfaff, of Onalaska, Eau Claire business owner Rebecca Cooke and U.S. Navy veteran Brett Knudsen. They will square off in the Aug. 9 primary.

Kind endorsed Pfaff, who formerly worked for Kind.

Republican Derrick Van Orden is running for the district again after being narrowly defeated by Kind in 2020. Former President Donald Trump backs Van Orden.

Republicans have targeted the race as one they can flip next year, especially under newly proposed maps that would make the district more favorable to the GOP.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kent Porter

    November 10, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    She will do a better job than Ron Kind , The only time I saw Ron Kind is during an election year when he would crawl out from under Nancy Pelosi’s desk to get votes from his constituates

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