Former President Trump has officially endorsed Derrick Van Orden to succeed Wisconsin Democrat Rep. Ron Kind. The Wisconsin representative announced last week that he will not be running for re-election.
Trump issued his endorsement Thursday afternoon through his Save America PAC:
“Derrick Van Orden is running for Congress in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District. Derrick is a former Navy SEAL Senior Chief who bravely served and defended our Country. He strongly supports our Military, Veterans, Law Enforcement, and he will always fight for Secure Borders, the Second Amendment, and our incredible Farmers. Derrick has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump said in his statement.
The Hill reports:
Van Orden previously challenged Kind in 2020, but ultimately lost to the longtime congressman by less than 3 percentage points. He quickly announced that he would run for the seat again in 2022 and racked up endorsements from prominent Republicans like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Wis.).
Kind, one of seven House Democrats to represent a district won by Trump last year, announced on Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in 2022, saying that he and his wife will be “finding new ways to give back and contribute” to their community.
His looming retirement is a major blow to Democrats, who are gearing up for a tough fight next year as they look to hold onto their narrow House majority. Even before announcing his retirement, House Republicans had indicated that they would target Wisconsin’s 3rd district aggressively in 2022.
Van Orden has faced scrutiny in recent months after it was revealed that he had been on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot by a mob of Trump supporters. He has acknowledged that he was in the crowd on the Capitol grounds, but left “when it became clear that a protest had become a mob.”