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Van Orden receives Trump endorsement for Wisconsin race

August 12, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Thursday gave his “Complete and Total Endorsement!” to the Republican seeking to flip a southwestern Wisconsin congressional district held by Democratic Rep. Ron Kind since 1997.

Derrick Van Orden was also endorsed by Trump in 2020 when he lost to Kind by less than 3 points. Trump carried the district by nearly 5 points, making it a prime target for Republicans even before Kind announced this week that he would not be running for a 14th term in 2022.

Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL and ardent supporter of Trump, has kept a high profile since his 2020 defeat, traveling to Washington, D.C., on the day of the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. Van Orden insisted that he was there to peacefully protest, was not part of the group that entered the Capitol, and he condemned the violence.

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Trump said in his endorsement statement that he was backing Van Orden because “He strongly supports our Military, Veterans, Law Enforcement, and he will always fight for Secure Borders, the Second Amendment, and our incredible Farmers.”

Political newcomer Brett Knudsen., a Democrat, announced his candidacy before Kind said he was retiring. No Democrats have announced since Kind said on Tuesday he would not run again.