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Like last year, two women already among US House candidates in Wisconsin’s 3rd District



The race for US House out of the La Crosse area became more crowded last week, when Tara Johnson entered the Democratic primary in the 3rd District.

That entry now puts two female candidates in the 2024 race, in a district which has not yet sent a woman to Congress.

Johnson’s announcement came shortly after rival Rebecca Cooke campaigned in La Crosse over Labor Day. Cooke said that voters she spoke with in La Crosse have worries about the economy.

Tara Johnson visited the WIZM studio for an interview in 2018, with former WIZM host and current La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds

“Folks have a lot of concerns over the rising cost of everyday goods, inflation, you know, how to afford groceries, how to afford gas at the pump,” Cooke told WIZM News.

House candidate Rebecca Cooke (right) met area voters at La Crosse’s Labor Day picnic last week

Cooke says health care is another issue on the minds of area voters. “One of the things I’d like to do if elected to Congress is expand Medicare to cover vision, dental, and hearing, the very things that deteriorate as folks age,” she says.

A third candidate, Aaron Nytes, also is running as a Democrat in the 3rd to challenge Republican incumbent Derrick Van Orden in next year’s race.

The presence of two women in the Democratic primary for Congress echoes the 3rd District race last year, when Cooke and Deb McGrath were both contenders in a four-way House primary won by Brad Pfaff. Recently, Pfaff announced that he would seek re-election to his seat in the Wisconsin Senate, rather than running for Congress.

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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