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State senator will mount challenge for congressional seat

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — A state lawmaker announced Monday he will run for an open congressional seat representing southwestern Wisconsin.

Democratic Sen. Brad Pfaff of Onalaska told the La Crosse Tribune he will run in the 3rd Congressional District next year. Pfaff won election to the Senate last year after Republicans who control the chamber voted not to confirm him as state agriculture secretary, effectively firing him from the post.

The 3rd Congressional District covers a swath of counties along Wisconsin’s western border, including La Crosse and Eau Claire. Democrat Ron Kind has held the seat for more than 24 years but announced in August he won’t seek reelection after narrowly defeating Republican Derrick Van Orden. Republicans planned to run Van Orden, a former Navy SEAL, against him again in 2022.

Pfaff worked for more than 12 years on Kind’s congressional staff and served in the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2009 to 2017 before Gov. Tony Evers appointed him to his Cabinet.

He will face political newcomer Brett Knudsen in a Democratic primary. The winner will go on to face Van Orden in the general election in November 2022.

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