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Rep. Ron Kind’s Retirement Raises Concern for House Democrats

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection – a gutting blow to House Democrats in their uphill battle to maintain their majority following the 2022 midterm elections. Kind told reporters, “The truth is I’ve run out of gas. At the end of this term, it will be 26 years of running back and forth to Washington D.C. traveling around… and that takes its toll.” 

Kind is now the eighth House Democrat to either announce their retirement or their candidacy for another office. There are also eight House Republicans not seeking reelection in 2022, but none of them represent districts as competitive as Wisconsin’s 3rd. Kind, who has served for nearly 13 terms in Congress, faced a closer than anticipated race in 2020. He defeated Republican challenger Derrick Van Orden by less than 3 percentage points, after winning by nearly 20 points the previous cycle.

Wisconsin’s heavily rural 3rd District has been trending toward the Republican Party in recent years. In fact, Kind was one of only seven House Democrats in the country to win in a district carried by Donald Trump in 2020. Some Wisconsin Democrats worry that Kind’s appeal to rural voters cannot be replicated. “I know he’s one of the districts that the Republican Party is coming after because they know Donald Trump won in that district,” remarked Jan Way, the co-chairwoman of the Democratic Party in Portage County, Wisconsin. “I think they see it as an easy win and I hope they’re very wrong.”

Announcing his retirement, Kind declared that his focus remained on tackling the pandemic, rebuilding the economy, and infrastructure. “I’m not done. We have 16 months to go. I’m going to break the tape, as they say.”

By: J. DebBaruah

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