U.S. Rep. Ron Kind not running for re-election, says he’s ‘run out of gas’

LA CROSSE, (WKBT) — U.S. Rep. Ron Kind will not run for re-election for the seat he has held for more than 25 years, he announced Tuesday at Roosevelt Elementary School, the same place he announced his first campaign.

The La Crosse Democrat was first elected to represent Wisconsin’s 3rd District in 1996, taking office in 1997.

Kind told his constituents that he has “run out of gas.”

“At the end of this term, it will be 26 years of running back and forth to Washington, D.C., of traveling around — in my humble opinion — the most beautiful Congressional district in the nation, the Third Congressional District,” Kind said. “That takes it’s toll. Tawni and I now look forward to the next chapter in our life.”

Watch the full announcement

Kind said Tuesday it was the greatest honor of his life to represent Wisconsin.

“But I never intended that it would be an honor for my entire life,” Kind said.

The longtime representative narrowly beat out Republican challenger Derrick Van Orden this year with 51.3% of the vote, his closest election in years. Van Orden has already announced another bid to seek election in Wisconsin’s third Congressional district in 2022.

Van Orden released a statement shortly after 3 p.m., thanking Kind for his service and wishing him the best in his retirement.

“Today’s announcement is indicative of what I hear every day as I travel the 3rd District: Wisconsinites want a change,” Van Orden went on to say. “Our campaign has shown that the people of the 3rd are ready for a proven, tested Leader in Washington who will stand up to Nancy Pelosi’s radical agenda, and ensure that our children and grandchildren will live in a safe and prosperous nation.”

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Area politicians and organizations sent out statements thanking Kind for his service.

Gov. Tony Evers

“For more than two decades western Wisconsin has been able to count on Ron Kind. Thanks to his tremendous leadership, countless small businesses, farmers, and families have a brighter future ahead of them. While his voice in Congress is going to be sorely missed, his legacy as a pragmatic and selfless leader will continue to move Wisconsin forward. I wish Ron, Tawni, and their entire family well on their next chapter and I’m confident they’ll continue to play an important role in the direction of our state.”


“Ron Kind’s days in Congress were numbered thanks to the tireless efforts of Derrick Van Orden. Republicans are well-positioned to win this congressional seat for the first time in a quarter century.”

Derrick Van Orden

I would like to thank Rep. Kind for serving in Washington for the last 24 years, and I wish him the best in his retirement.

Today’s announcement is indicative of what I hear every day as I travel the 3rd District: Wisconsinites want a change.

Our campaign has shown that the people of the 3rd are ready for a proven, tested Leader in Washington who will stand up to Nancy Pelosi’s radical agenda, and ensure that our children and grandchildren will live in a safe and prosperous nation.

I will continue to work tirelessly to earn every vote, and am standing ready to represent the incredible people of Western Wisconsin.


“For 24 years, Ron Kind has been an outstanding leader for Wisconsin and the people of the 3rd Congressional District. His bipartisan, pragmatic approach has consistently delivered for his constituents. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is grateful for Rep. Kind’s extraordinary service and commitment to improving the lives of Wisconsinites, and for his family’s support of his distinguished and tireless public service.

“Thanks in large measure to Rep. Kind’s constant engagement with grassroots organizing, the Democratic Party has tremendous local strength throughout the 3rd Congressional District, and we are eager to support the next Democratic candidate to ensure that this critical area continues to be well-represented in Congress.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin

“Ron always put the people of Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District ahead of partisan politics in Washington and I have a tremendous amount of respect for his public service to Wisconsin,” said Senator Baldwin. “He worked hard to support our Wisconsin farmers and understood the importance of carrying on our state’s proud tradition of being a national leader on issues of environment protection and conservation. I know the people he has represented in Congress appreciate the fact that he worked to expand access to quality, affordable health care, and that he stood up to those who have tried to take it away. As Ron, Tawni and their two sons move forward writing the next chapter of lives together, I wish them all the best.”

Brett Knudsen

With Ron Kind’s announcement of not running for re-election, it becomes a valuable time to look for the start of a new voice. I’m happy to new the only current democrat running for office, but I will welcome any new candidates and hope to establish a voice of young progressivism in our district.

State Sen. Brad Pfaff

“I want to congratulate Representative Ron Kind on his more than 24 years of dedicated service to the people of the 3rd Congressional District. He has always stayed true to the values he was raised with — honesty, hard work, and positivity. I am proud to have worked with and learned from him.”“With Ron, it’s always about respect and appreciation for the people who get up every day to provide for their families. From nurses and small business owners to machine operators and dairy farmers, Ron ensured everyone had a seat at the table. He always brought the ideas he heard in the district back to Washington. The next 3rd District representative will have extraordinary shoes to fill.”“Betty and I wish Ron and Tawni the very best in their next chapter.”

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes

“Representative Kind has always been a champion for Western Wisconsin. He worked diligently to expand access to quality health care, invest in our education system, and create good-paying jobs for working families while bridging the partisan divide to deliver for everyday Wisconsinites. Throughout his career, he stood on the side of creating a more equitable and just economy. I wish him all the best, but know his presence in Congress will be deeply missed.”

State Rep. Jill Billings

“I’d like to thank Congressman Kind for his many years of service to the people of Western Wisconsin. He has been a leader with honor, integrity, and intelligence. Congressman Kind’s leadership and thoughtfulness will be missed, as he’s been a dedicated and principled public servant for our region. I wish him, and his family, the best as he moves forward on to new adventures in life.”

Gundersen Health System CEO Dr. Scott Rathgaber

“Congressman Kind has served western Wisconsin with professionalism, respect and a focus on community for 25 years. His commitment to the health and well-being of his hometown La Crosse, the Coulee Region, and communities throughout the 3rd Congressional District, along with collaboration on impactful healthcare issues, enabled progress and set the course for success long into the future. Gundersen thanks Congressman Kind for his years of service and wishes him all the best with his future endeavors.”