Jan. 6-linked candidate secures GOP nomination for Wisconsin House seat
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.”
- However, social media posts reported by the Daily Beast indicate he was inside a restricted area of the Capitol grounds, past police barricades, after the violence had begun.
- Van Orden, who has called Jan. 6 “one of the most tragic incidents in the history of our nation,” disputed the Daily Beast report as “inaccurate.”
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.