According to The New York Times, Ron Kind might be one of few Democrats with little to worry about this time around. Although Real Clear Politics lists this district as merely “leaning Democrat,” it’s looking like Republican and Wisconsin state senator Dan Kapanke doesn’t have much of a chance.
Candidates for Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District (two-year term)
(This district includes all or part of 19 counties, including St. Croix, Vernon, Juneau and Clark counties, and the cities of Eau Claire and La Crosse. See a boundary map here.)
Candidate: Ron Kind
Political experience: Kind has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1996, serving Wisconsin’s 3rd District.
Professional experience: An attorney with a master’s degree in economics, Kind practiced law for the firm Quarles and Brady before becoming a county prosecutor. Kind was also a special prosecutor in several Wisconsin counties, including La Crosse, before being elected a U.S. House representative.
Key issues: According to his website, creating jobs and boosting Wisconsin’s economy are Kind’s highest priority. He wants to do this by focusing on small businesses through expanded lending and tax incentives, including a tax credit for providing health care for employees. He is also focused on protecting the natural resources of Wisconsin and the nation at large, including measures to control and eradicate harmful non-native species and sustain bird conservation programs. He is one of the representatives leading the movement to hold BP responsible for clean-up and recovery efforts in the Gulf; he is also requesting heavier conservation efforts and research into the safety of drilling.
Endorsements: Kind is endorsed by the National Education Association, Wisconsin AFL-CIO and the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, among others.
Chances of maintaining his seat: Kind has been overwhelmingly popular in this district since taking office, and it remains hard for Republican challengers to topple him. CQPolitics sees it as being “likely” that Kind will retain his seat. Unless something stunning happens in the next few weeks, he’ll be re-elected.
Candidate: Dan Kapanke
Political experience: Kapanke was elected to the Wisconsin state senate in 2004, serving the 32nd District. He was re-elected in 2008.
Professional experience: Kapanke is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp., the Reserves and the Wisconsin National Guard. He was a seed salesman for 25 years, working for Pride Seed Company and, later, he became district manager for Kaltenberg Seed Farms. He is an owner of the La Crosse Loggers Northwoods League Baseball Team.
Key issues: According to his website, Kapanke is focused on Wisconsin jobs as his first priority. He wants to implement tax cuts for businesses in order to lower the cost of doing business in the state. He is particularly interested in the welfare of Wisconsin’s farmers, and he wants to repeal the death tax, milk-pricing laws and the cap and trade proposals, citing them as impediments to Wisconsin farmers’ global competitiveness.
Endorsements: Kapanke is endorsed by the Wisconsin Right to Life Political Action Fund, the Restore America’s Legacy PAC and Conservative4Congress, among others.
Chances of unseating Ron Kind: It’s not looking good. Kind had money leftover from his previous re-election bids because he won them so handily, and he approached this race like he was going to be seriously challenged, going into fund-raising and organizing overtime. This put Kapanke in a bad spot and seriously behind. He’s the strongest candidate the Republicans have put up against the incumbent, but he’ll have a hard time finding enough ammunition to dent Kind’s popularity and entice the large number of voters he needs to win. Even GOP-leaning polling this summer had Kapanke behind.
Key Differences between Dan Kapanke and Ron Kind
Jobs: Kind favors incentives and better lending opportunities for small-business start-up and growth. Kapanke is focusing on tax cuts for farms and other businesses to lower costs of operation in the state.
Health Care: Although he favors keeping measures that make it impossible for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, Kapanke wants to get rid of the rest of the federal health care reform in the belief that competition is what will ultimately lower costs. Kind supports the federal health care reform and wants to protect it from repeal. He also wants to implement community health care pooling that he believes will lower costs.
Education: Kind wants to re-invest in teacher training and Head Start for young children. He also wants to increase focus on physical education in schools, citing research that says physically active kids do better academically. Kapanke believes that families and the local communities are best able to run their own school systems, and he wants to reduce the imprint of special interests and the federal government on Wisconsin’s schools.
Wisconsin’s 3rd U.S. Congressional District
Location: The Wisconsin 3rd District is located in southwestern Wisconsin, bordering Minnesota and Iowa along its western edge and Illinois along the south.
2008 results: Kind defeated Republican Paul Stark 63.19 percent to 34.44 percent.
Demographics: According to the U.S. Census, 94.9 percent of the district is white, 0.8 percent black, 1.4 percent Hispanic, 1.4 percent Asian, and 0.7 percent American Indian and Alaska Native.
The Cook Partisan Index gives the Wisconsin 3rd District a rating of D+4, awarding an edge to Democratic voters in this district.