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3rd District House race is called for Van Orden, who thanks voters; Pfaff issues concession statement

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News organizations are declaring Republican Derrick Van Orden the winner of the 3rd District US House race in Wisconsin, with about a 4 percent lead over Democrat Brad Pfaff.

Around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Van Orden’s campaign put out a statement thanking voters and saying he’ll be the hardest working Congressman ever in the district.

Around 11 a.m., Pfaff, a Wisconsin state Senator, issued a statement thanking the people who backed his campaign, saying “We left it all on the field.”

The local election got national attention, after incumbent Democrat Ron Kind announced his retirement after 13 terms in office. Van Orden lost to Kind by 2.7 percent in the 2020 election, and then launched another campaign in early 2021.

Van Orden had about a 4-to-1 advantage in campaign money, while getting support from multiple groups, where Pfaff did not.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, “Republican groups like the Congressional Leadership Fund, a PAC aligned with the House GOP leadership, poured money into advertising in the race as national Democrats largely left Pfaff to his own devices. Neither the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee nor the House Majority PAC, Democrats’ biggest outside group for congressional campaigns, invested in the race.”

The 3rd is the only US House district in the state which was flipped in Tuesday’s election, giving the GOP six of Wisconsin’s eight House seats. The two remaining Democratic seats represent the Madison and Milwaukee areas.

Here is the Van Orden campaign full statement from 2:30 a.m. Wednesday:

Thank you to the voters of Wisconsin’s 3rd district who have given me their support throughout this election. I make a promise to you: I will be the hardest working Congressman you have ever had in this district. I look forward to working with anyone who will put the Mission first, and the Mission is America.

To Senator Pfaff, I look forward to working with you to do great things for the people of this district. You are my State Senator and as long as we can put the people of this district first, we will continue to move Wisconsin Forward.

This election was about gas, groceries and grandkids. Families can’t afford the first two, and are worried about the future for the third. I will do everything in my power to fight for our Wisconsin families and build a brighter future for America.”


Tuesday evening, the Pfaff campaign had scheduled a news conference in La Crosse for Wednesday morning, but then called it off.

Instead, this statement was issued by the Pfaff campaign at 11 a.m.:

“From day one, Washington prognosticators and political insiders told us we couldn’t win and that this rural, western Wisconsin seat was trending away from Democrats. Despite being outspent 4-1, western Wisconsin showed up in an unprecedented way.

“This campaign has been about one thing: bringing western and central Wisconsin values to Congress and bringing real results home to this district. It’s a simple message, and we all knew early on that it wouldn’t be easy to make this vision a reality. But that didn’t stop us: we crisscrossed this district countless times, speaking with supporters, voters, local media, and community leaders about what was at stake in this election. We left it all on the field, and I am so proud of the race that we ran.

“Thank you everyone so much for standing with me, for fighting for our shared values and for this campaign. Whether it’s as your state Senator, or a born-and-raised member of this community, you can be damn sure that despite this outcome, I’ll never stop being a voice and a fighter for you and your family.”

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. Sue Schultz

    November 9, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks to you, Brad, for your time and effort to run in this election. You would have best represented me and my values. Keep up your good work.

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