A former CIA officer and daughter of a former congressman is joining the Democratic primary for a western Wisconsin congressional seat that’s expected to be one of the hardest-fought races in the country next year.
Wisconsin Public Radio reported that Deb McGrath, from Menomonie, announced her candidacy on Tuesday. She is seeking to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Ron Kind.
Other Democrats already in the race are state Sen. Brad Pfaff, of Onalaska; Eau Claire business owner Rebecca Cooke; and U.S. Navy veteran Brett Knudsen. They will square off in the Aug. 9 primary.
Kind endorsed Pfaff, who formerly worked for Kind.
Republican Derrick Van Orden is running for the district again after being narrowly defeated by Kind in 2020. Former President Donald Trump backs Van Orden.
Republicans have targeted the race as one they can flip next year, especially under newly proposed maps that would make the district more favorable to the GOP.
McGrath worked in national security positions for 25 years in both the CIA and the Department of State. She also served as a captain in the U.S. Army.
Her father, Al Baldus, represented the district from 1975 to 1981 in Congress.
If elected, McGrath would be the first woman to represent the district.
IN PHOTOS: Scenes from Rep. Ron Kind's visits to region
Trade Rep. visits Stoddard farm
Tim Servais, right, speaks with Rep. Ron Kind, left, and U.S. Trade Rep. Katherine Tai on Friday at his family’s farm, Hamburg Hills Farm in rural Stoddard.
Trade Rep. visits Stoddard farm
Tim and Lisa Servais, left, speak with Rep. Ron Kind and U.S. Trade Rep. Katherine Tai, right, Friday at their farm, Hamburg Hills Farm in rural Stoddard. The Servais’ hosted a roundtable to discuss how trade can help western Wisconsin farmers during the visit.
Secretary Walsh visits Dairyland
Rep. Ron Kind, right, of La Crosse and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh take a tour of Dairyland Power Cooperatives service center Tuesday during a visit to promote President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan.
Kind pitches small business relief
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind speaks at the Pearl Street Brewery in La Crosse with owner, Tami Plourde, center, and Darren Price, left, who owns BP Smokehouse in Tomah, during a victory lap event for the American Rescue Plan Act, which passed with Kind's support.
On a tour
Dan Beck of AMI Expeditionary Healthcare leads Rep. Ron Kind and other officials on a tour of the community-based vaccination clinic at UW-La Crosse.
Ron Kind visit
Rep. Ron Kind joined UWL leaders and state and local health officials for a tour of the community-based vaccination clinic at UW-La Crosse on Tuesday. The clinic is increasing its capacity to 250 tests per day, with the goal of reaching 1,000 by mid-April.
Julie Willems Van Dijk, left, deputy secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, thanks Rep. Ron Kind for support from Congress Tuesday at the Cleary Alumni & Friends Center, the site of a community-based vaccination clinic on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus.
Ron Kind speaks out in support of postal service
Rep. Ron Kind stands outside the La Crosse Post Office Wednesday alongside former area mail carrier Gary Knudtson, both advocating for more support for the United States Postal Service.
CHIP A1 promo
Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc., questions ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, as they testify during a hearing at the House Ways and Means Committee on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Rep. Kind listening session in Dunn County
Rep. Ron Kind held a listening session at the Dunn County Community Services Building in Menomonie on Friday.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Ron Kind
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Ron Kind discussed health care policy during an event Friday in La Crosse.
First tee shot
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind takes a ceremonial first tee shot.
Garden Terrace Apartments
Rep. Ron Kind is accompanied by Caroline Gregerson, La Crosse city community development coordinator, speaks at the construction site of Garden Terrace Apartments. Kind was instrumental in securing the HUD Community Development Block Grant that made the project possible.
Solar garden ribbon cutting
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind and other local legislators joined Xcel Energy and Solar*Connect Community subscribers, Thursday, May 30, to celebrate the completion of the program’s second solar garden at a ribbon cutting near Cashton.
UW-Stout golf experiences
From left, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and UW-Stout students Ryan Hoag and Sawyer Hrycay meet during National Golf Day on May 1 in Washington, D.C.
Colonel MJ Hull with Ron Kind
Col. MJ Hull with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind
Prescription drug prices
Rep. Ron Kind and AARP Wisconsin volunteer Noreen Holmes discuss ways to lower the price of prescription drugs during a press conference in La Crosse on Thursday.
Congressman in Mauston
Congressman Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, speaks with customers at Log Cabin Deli & Cheese in Mauston.
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, got a firsthand look at flood damage in the town of Leon in Monroe County.
Ron Kind roundtable
Representatives from a variety of businesses, manufacturers, farm groups and credit unions meet with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (back, between flags in blue shirt) at the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce.
Contributed kind roundtable
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, center in blue shirt, meets with rural economy leaders at the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday. Chamber executive director
Vicki Markussen is at his right.
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, held a press conference at Crown Beverage Packaging, contending that tariffs that are increasing the cost of raw materials for the La Crosse manufacturing business.
Ron Kind at Servais farm
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, right, discusses Farm Bill issues and other agricultural concerns on with Tim Servais on the Servais Family Farm, a 350-cow dairy operation in Stoddard.
Tomah High School's Caitlyn Brockman shares her artwork with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind.
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