AP

Ex-SEAL Van Orden flips Wisconsin congressional seat to GOP

Nov 8, 2022, 6:39 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2022, 8:47 am

Republican Congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden is seen at Morning Star Dairy in rural Onalask...

Republican Congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden is seen at Morning Star Dairy in rural Onalaska during an agriculture and rural issues roundtable hosted by the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Wisconsin on June 28, 2021, in Onalaska, Wis. (Peter Thomson/La Crosse Tribune via AP)

(Peter Thomson/La Crosse Tribune via AP)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Former Navy SEAL Derrick Van Orden defeated Democratic state Sen. Brad Pfaff in Tuesday’s election to flip a Wisconsin congressional seat to Republicans, a boost to GOP designs on grabbing control of the House.

Van Orden’s victory also lands him a spot in the House less than two years after he was nearby on the day that insurrectionists violently breached the U.S. Capitol. He acknowledged attending then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, but denied taking any part in the attack that followed.

Pfaff tried to persuade voters that Van Orden’s presence in Washington should have been disqualifying. He had argued that Van Orden’s presence in Washington should be disqualifying.

Van Orden said in a statement Wednesday morning that the race was largely about inflation crimping family budgets.

“I make a promise to you: I will be the hardest-working Congressman you have ever had in this district,” Van Orden said. “I look forward to working with anyone who will put the Mission first, and the Mission is America.”

Pfaff campaign spokesperson Kevin Winslow didn’t immediately return a message Wednesday morning.

Van Orden and Pfaff were seeking a seat held by longtime Democratic Rep. Ron Kind before Kind, who narrowly defeated Van Orden in 2020, chose not to seek another term.

Van Orden vastly outraised Pfaff and had the advantage of running in a district along the state’s western border that has been trending toward conservatives. But he had to defend himself against questions about his presence on or near the U.S. Capitol grounds during the insurrection, when rioters violently breached the building in an attempt to block certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

Van Orden said he was in Washington for political meetings when he attended then-President Donald Trump’s rally outside the White House shortly before the Capitol attack. A Facebook photo from that day appears to show Van Orden posing with a small handful of protesters on the Capitol grounds, but Van Orden has said the suggestion he was within the restricted area is “inaccurate.”

Pfaff, a state senator and former cabinet secretary for Gov. Tony Evers, maintained Van Orden’s presence near the Capitol that day shows he lacks the character and judgment to be an effective member of Congress.

He also criticized Van Orden for saying during a campaign stop in October that “leftists” can’t be Christians. Van Orden called during the stop for a return to Judeo-Christian values that he said “this country was based on” and mentioned that he’s a member of the Bible Baptist Church, which lists homosexuality alongside bestiality and incest as “sinful perversion.” The church also preaches that women should be barred from leadership positions.

The 3rd District stretches from Menomonie south along the Mississippi River to Platteville. The district is mostly rural but includes the Democratic-leaning cities of Eau Claire and La Crosse.

Democrat Barack Obama won the district twice in his presidential races but the district has grown more conservative since then, mirroring a nationwide trend in rural areas. Trump carried the district in 2016 and 2020. Kind beat Van Orden by less than 3 points in 2020.

___

Learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections .

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

lily gladstone...

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

‘Oppenheimer,’ Lily Gladstone win at 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards

Gladstone won Saturday and the crowd erupted. Stone, too, stood and vigorously applauded. Her win would be a first for Native Americans.

18 hours ago

Image: An Alaska Airlines passenger jet approaches to land at the Los Angeles International Airport...

Associated Press

Man accused of stabbing another passenger on a flight from Seattle to Las Vegas charged

A man who witnesses say stabbed another passenger on an airline flight in January told authorities he intended to kill the victim.

3 days ago

Image: Dr. Candice Matthews, left, listens as Texas state Rep. Ron Reynolds, right, with Darryl Geo...

Associated Press

Judge: Texas school legally punished Black student over hairstyle

A Black high school student's punishment by his Texas district for refusing to change his hairstyle doesn't violate state law, a judge said.

3 days ago

The logo for Boeing appears on a screen above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exc...

Associated Press

Boeing ousts head of 737 jetliner program weeks after panel blowout on flight

Boeing said the head of its 737 program is leaving the company in an executive shake-up weeks after a door panel blew out on a flight over Oregon.

4 days ago

Image: The Alabama State Capitol is seen on May 15, 2019 in Montgomery, Alabama....

Associated Press

Alabama Supreme Court rules frozen embryos are ‘children’ under state law

Critics say the Alabama embryo ruling may have sweeping implications for fertility treatments.

5 days ago

Image: People take cover during a shooting at Union Station during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bow...

Associated Press

Two men charged with murder at Kansas City Chiefs parade

Minutes after Kansas City Chiefs players spoke at a victory celebration Wednesday, multiple people near the parade route were carried away on stretchers.

5 days ago

Ex-SEAL Van Orden flips Wisconsin congressional seat to GOP