Republican Derrick Van Orden flips Wisconsin House seat red for first time in decades

Republican Derrick Van Orden has won the open House seat in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District after defeating Democratic candidate Brad Pfaff, flipping the seat red for the first time in 26 years.

The House district was left open by the retirement of longtime Democratic Rep. Ron Kind following 26 years in Congress.

Van Orden, a former Navy SEAL and Trump-endorsed candidate, previously challenged Kind in his bid for re-election in 2020, but the Democrat won by a narrow 3-point margin.

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Derrick Van Orden speaks to guests during a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump on August 05, 2022 in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
(Scott Olson)

Pfaff is a state Senator in Wisconsin and former U.S. Department of Agriculture official under the Obama administration with ties to the farming community in Wisconsin.

Van Orden received criticism for being present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, where protestors breached the building, which Pfaff frequently brought up to attack his Republican opponent.

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Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc., announced his retirement from Congress in August 2021 after serving in the House for 26 years.
(Bill Clark)

Van Orden also raised eyebrows when he claimed that “leftists” cannot be Christians at a campaign stop, to which Pfaff responded forcefully calling these remarks an “attack on my way of life” in a recent press conference.

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Though the district in rural Wisconsin has been in Democratic control for 26 years, it has been trending Republican in recent years with Trump winning by small margins in 2016 and 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.