Rep. Ron Kind won’t seek reelection in 2022

MADISON, Wis. — Longtime Democratic U.S. Congressman Ron Kind of La Crosse won’t seek reelection in 2022.

Rep. Kind (D-03) announced his retirement Tuesday after nearly 25 years of service in the House of Representatives for the 3rd district, the longest current serving member of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation.

“I’m part of a dying breed in public service today, in Washington and certainly in Madison,” Kind said in a press conference announcing his retirement on Tuesday. “Someone that tried to be reasonable, pragmatic, thoughtful, worked hard to try to find common ground with my colleagues, work in a bipartisan way, to find bipartisan solutions for the challenges that we face.”

Reports that track congressional voting records have often placed Rep. Kind as one of the most bipartisan in the House of Representatives. Kind said Tuesday he plans to serve out the remainder of his term, focusing on a legacy of bipartisanship in his announcement.

“We’re seeing fewer and fewer of those type of people willing to serve, who don’t believe that politics should just be a constant combat sport, where the goal is just to destroy people on the other side.”

In a statement released shortly after Kind’s announcement, Gov. Tony Evers said Kind’s presence in Congress will be missed.

“For more than two decades western Wisconsin has been able to count on Ron Kind. Thanks to his tremendous leadership, countless small businesses, farmers, and families have a brighter future ahead of them,” Evers said. “While his voice in Congress is going to be sorely missed, his legacy as a pragmatic and selfless leader will continue to move Wisconsin forward.”

The longtime representative narrowly beat out Republican challenger Derrick Van Orden this year with 51.3% of the vote, his closest election in years; president Donald Trump won the district on the Presidential side of the ballot but President Barack Obama also carried it in 2012. Months ago, Van Orden had announced another bid to seek election in Wisconsin’s third Congressional district in 2022.

Kind’s retirement could pave the way for Republicans to take another district in a 2022 election where Democrats are already fighting to hold a slim majority in the House. Republicans need only 5 seats in the House to gain control, and Kind’s swing district was already a clear target before the well-known congressman announced his retirement.

The Wisconsin GOP said in a statement Tuesday that his days had been numbered because of the “tireless efforts” of his 2020 GOP challenger.

“Republicans are well-positioned to win this congressional seat for the first time in a quarter century,” the WisGOP said.

There’s no clear replacement yet in the third district for Democrats, particularly one that can match Rep. Kind’s longtime popularity and name recognition within the region.

“We have no doubt that a strong progressive with a clear vision and drive to represent the 3rd Congressional District will emerge,” a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Democrat party said in an email.