Wisconsin candidate participated in January 6 riot

LA CROSSE, Wis. (HPD) — Derrick Van Orden was one of thousands who flocked to Washington for a rally called by then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop the certification of victory. Joe Biden election. Van Orden was photographed on or near the Capitol grounds where rioters violently stormed the legislative chamber in one of the darkest days of American democracy.

Now Van Orden, a Trump-backed retired Navy SEAL who says he was not involved in the riots and did not set foot on the Capitol grounds, appears poised to win the House seat he has held since 1997. outgoing Democrat Ron Kind. Voters in the southwestern district of Wisconsin say they are more worried about everyday economic problems than what happened on January 6.

“He shouldn’t have been there. Don’t get me wrong,” said Rosemary Hermanson, a 60-year-old independent politician from Black River Falls. “I just worry about feeding myself and making sure I have gas to get to my cancer treatments.”

That’s the challenge for Democratic state Sen. Brad Pfaff heading into the Nov. 8 election to sound the alarm and raise money, trying to make Van Orden’s Jan. 6 attendance a bar to holding elective office. . The stakes are high as Pfaff’s party seeks to stem the slide in this once Democratic-leaning part of the country.

“I think that is problem number one. It’s the underlying problem with this race,” Pfaff said in an interview. “January 6 opened the window to the soul of Van Orden. And what we saw there was unfortunately very dark.”

Pfaff acknowledges that he is trailing the Republican, who has a big advantage in fundraising.

Van Orden was not available for an interview with The Associated Press.


Will Weissert in Washington contributed to this report.

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