Aug 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6-linked candidate secures GOP nomination for Wisconsin House seat

Derrick Van Orden speaks at an Aug. 5 Trump rally. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Trump-endorsed House candidate Derrick Van Orden on Tuesday became the latest candidate who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to secure a Republican nomination.

Why it matters: Van Orden is running in Wisconsin's 3rd District, which voted for Trump by nearly 5 points in 2020 and is seen as one of Republicans’ top pickup opportunities this year after Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) announced his retirement.

Driving the news: Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL who lost to Kind by just 3 points in 2020, ran in the primary unopposed after his only opponent withdrew from the race.

  • Van Orden has been embraced by the Republican establishment, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy adding him to his coveted “Young Guns” program for top GOP House recruits.
  • He was also one of the first endorsements made by former President Trump for an open House seat. He spoke at a Wisconsin rally held by Trump on Aug. 5.

The context: Though he has publicly acknowledged being at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Van Orden has claimed he never went on restricted grounds and left “when it became clear that a protest had become a mob.”

By the numbers: Van Orden is at least the sixth candidate who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to win a Republican nomination this year. Several others are also in highly competitive races:

  • J.R. Majewski is the nominee against Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), another top target for Republicans.
  • Sandy Smith is running in a Democratic-held swing seat in North Carolina.
  • Doug Mastriano is running for governor in the perennial swing state of Pennsylvania.
  • Mark Finchem last week won the Republican nomination for Arizona secretary of state — the state’s top election official.

What’s next: The race for Wisconsin’s only competitive House seat is expected to be one of the most closely watched in the country.

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