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3rd Congressional District: Incumbent Ron Kind (Democrat) wins re-election

Longtime U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) has cemented his re-election to the 3rd Congressional District in western Wisconsin as of 10:35 p.m. Nov. 6.

The incumbent Kind had 58 percent of the vote (63,987 votes), according to the Journal Sentinel. Challenger, retired U.S. Army Col. Steve Toft, 60, a Republican who has never held office, garnered 46,368 votes with 285 of 600 precincts reporting.

Toft won the Republican primary for U.S. House Wisconsin District 3 on Aug. 14, 2018.

Kind, a La Crosse Democrat, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996.

Toft has criticized Kind for being in office too long. He supports term-limits, he told RiverTown Multimedia in an October questionnaire.

“Too often career politicians like Ron Kind are more interested in being re-elected than doing what is right for their district,” Toft said. “We need term limits and citizen legislators who are willing to go to Washington for a short time, represent their district and return to their lives at home.”

Kind currently serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax policy, Medicare, Social Security and international trade. He also serves on the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Trade.

He was a member of the Natural Resources Committee from 1996 to 2010, during which time he focused much of his work on the Mississippi River, his website states. The self-proclaimed avid sportsman is the Chair of the centrist “New Democrat Coalition” and co-chairs the Congressional Fitness Caucus, the Congressional Organic Caucus, the National Parks Caucus, and the Upper Mississippi River Basin Task Force.  He is also the former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus.

Kind lives in La Crosse with his wife, Tawni. They have two children, Johnny and Matt.

Toft, a farmer, resides in Osseo. He and his wife, Carla, have two adult children. He said in October 2017 that he was recruited by party leaders to run against Kind when retired officer Tony Kurtz, who ran against Kind in 2014, declined to run again. Kind went unopposed in the 2016 election.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, as of Oct. 17, 2018, Ron Kind had raised

$2,600,622 in campaign contributions, of which he had spent $2,203,671. Small individual contributions (less than $200) amounted to $192,026; large individual contributions added up to $272,546; and PAC contributions tallied $1,714,850.

CRP reports, as of Oct. 17, 2018, Toft had raised $284,840, of which he’d spent $229,381. Small individual contributions added up to $27,185; large individual contributions totaled $211,138; and PAC contributions were $11,000. Toft also self-financed $33,416.

The 3rd Congressional District is comprised of Pierce, Pepin, Dunn, Eau Claire, Buffalo, Trempealeau, La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford, Grant, Portage and parts of Chippewa, Jackson, Monroe, Richland, Wood, Juneau and Adams counties.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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