Democrat Brad Pfaff is running against Republican Derrick Van Orden in Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District.
The 3rd District is mostly rural and covers southwestern Wisconsin.
Democratic Rep. Ron Kind, who's held the seat since 1996, is retiring and not running for a 14th term.
Democratic Wisconsin state Sen. Brad Pfaff faces off against Republican Derrick Van Orden in Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District.
Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District candidates
Pfaff represents the 32nd Senate District in the Wisconsin State Senate and is a ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture and Tourism. Prior to his time in state Senate, he served in senior positions with the US Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency. The Wisconsin Democrat also served as chief of staff to Rep. Ron Kind, who endorsed Pfaff ahead of the Democratic primary.
Kind, a longtime Democratic congressman who's held the office since 1996, is retiring, leaving the seat open.
Van Orden, Pfaff's opponent, is a retired Navy SEAL and private consultant. He also wrote the 2015 book "A Book of Man: A Navy SEAL's Guide to the Lost Art of Manhood," which contained a controversial passage about genital exposure. After enlisting in the Navy at the age of 18, Van Orden served for 26 years, going on multiple combat tours to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Last August, former President Donald Trump threw his support behind Van Orden. That wasn't the first time Trump voiced support for the retired Navy SEAL — he also endorsed Van Orden in 2020 when he ran against Kind for the same seat and lost.
Van Orden ran unopposed in the Republican primary, advancing straight to the general election.
Voting history for Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District
Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District is mostly rural and covers southwestern and parts of central Wisconsin.
The open district, which backed Trump under its previous boundaries in 2020, remained nearly identical in redistricting following the 2020 Census. With Trump's victory in 2020, the 3rd District became one of 16 districts in that country that split its votes for president and Congress.
The money race
According to OpenSecrets, Pfaff has raised $1.6 million, spent $1.5 million, and has $116,000 on hand, as of October 19. His opponent, Van Orden, has raised more than $5.9 million, spent $5.4 million, and has $558,000 cash on hand.
As of late October, more than a dozen super PACs, national party committees, politically active nonprofits, and other non-candidate groups have together spent about $2 million to advocate for or against candidates in this race, including during the race's primary phase.
What experts say
The race between Pfaff and Van Orden is rated as "lean Republican" by Inside Elections, "lean Republican" by The Cook Political Report, and "likely Republican" by Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
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