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Pfaff challenges Van Orden to debates in 3rd District House race



A candidate for the US House of Representatives has called for debates this fall with his opponent. The other candidate has not committed.

On Monday, Democrat Brad Pfaff held a news conference in front of La Crosse’s courthouse, challenging Republican Derrick Van Orden to debate him in the cities of La Crosse, Eau Claire and Stevens Point.

UW-La Crosse is trying to arrange a debate and also released a statement.

“The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, numerous media companies, and key community partners have formed a coalition to organize debates prior to the 2022 election,” the UW-L statement read. “The coalition’s goal is to continue Western Wisconsin’s proud tradition of holding civil, informative political debates. As part of this tradition, debates have routinely been held in previous elections for Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District.

“The coalition invites Brad Pfaff and Derrick Van Orden to participate in a debate on the UW-La Crosse campus. The coalition is eager to work with the campaigns to organize this debate and ensure the tradition continues.”

Pfaff, the 32nd District state Senator, has criticized Van Orden for not making more public appearances, and for his behavior. Pfaff claims that the Republican moved to the district a few years ago specifically to run for Congress against Rep. Ron Kind, who is retiring this fall, after 26 years in the House.

Van Orden did not commit to debates in a response to Pfaff’s challenge.

“I will gladly put my 26 year record of service defending this nation as a Navy SEAL against Pfaff’s 26 year pursuit of personal political power,” a statement from Van Orden read. “Pfaff will continue to pull these cheap political stunts because his campaign is floundering.”

Van Orden’s campaign added, “We reached out to TV media partners in the district about debates weeks ago. The Pfaff campaign has never approached us about debates prior to (Monday).”

Back in 2020, Van Orden did debate Kind before the 2020 election.

A few weeks ago, Pfaff went to Prairie du Chien, where Van Orden lives, to criticize his opponent for a reported confrontation with a young employee at the public library there, over the content of certain books.

Pfaff mentioned the library incident again at his news conference on Monday.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Nick

    September 13, 2022 at 6:24 am

    Just what we do not need – two stooges running for the same seat.

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