Democrats stress importance of November, rural Wisconsin in convention speeches

LA CROSSE, Wis. — Speaking at the state party convention Saturday night, members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation stressed the importance of rural Wisconsin ahead of a key election for them.

This was the last convention for U.S. Rep. Ron Kind who is retiring this year. He represents Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes La Crosse. Republicans see the seat as a potential pickup for them in their efforts to take back the House of Representatives.

“We need to be able to hold on and be competitive in these larger rural congressional districts like the 3rd, and I think right now, as a party, we have difficulty translating in rural America,” Kind said.

There is a slate of Democrats running in the primary to replace him. They will likely face Republican Derrick Van Orden in the fall, who ran a tight race against Kind in 2020.

Democrats have criticized Van Orden for his attendance at the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Others, like U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, stressed the importance of November to maintain what he said has been the status quo of Democrats the last four years.

“If we want to hold the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, we must hold on to Ron Kind’s 3rd Congressional District,” Pocan said. “If we don’t win and hold seats in the State Assembly and Senate, the governor’s veto can’t be upheld.”

Democrats are expected to have a bad year — the president’s party generally does poorly in midterm elections. They said though that abortion could be a motivating factor, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Friday the precedent set by Roe v. Wade.