La CROSSE — Dem candidates for retiring U.S. Rep. Ron Kind’s 3rd CD seat decried the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and criticized Republican opponent Derrick Van Orden.

Former CIA officer and Army Capt. Deb McGrath slammed the SCOTUS ruling.

“Roe was overturned yesterday and like you, I am angry,” McGrath said. “And that is why I’m in this race because I’m fighting for our rights.”

McGrath also spoke about her time in the military, sharing a story about when she found out she was pregnant and was stripped of her command and advised to resign.

She also called Van Orden an “icon for the radical right.”

“Is keeping this seat mission impossible? No,” McGrath said.

La Crosse Ald. Mark Neumann recounted a recent trip he made to Washington, D.C., for the Poor People’s & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March. Neumann said lawmakers should make those people feel heard.

“The way to do it is to keep our eyes fixed on these people who feel that their government does not see them, does not hear them and too often, they feel like they’re even being despised because of their poverty,” Neumann said.

Sen. Brad Pfaff, D-Onalaska, told supporters he would “fight like hell” to protect abortion rights, calling the SCOTUS ruling “devastating.”

Pfaff emphasized the importance of rural Wisconsin and called Van Orden a “clear and present danger,” referencing Van Orden recently bringing a gun to an airport and attending the rally ahead of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, among other things.

“He lacks the judgment, the temperament and the character to serve in Congress,” Pfaff said.

Eau Claire businesswoman Rebecca Cooke told Dems she is not a “career politician,” noting she is not endorsed by Kind like Pfaff, or the daughter of a congressman. McGrath is former U.S. Rep. Al Baldus’s daughter.

Cooke also touted support from what she called “John McCain-style” Republicans.

“John McCain-style Republicans have said, ‘I’m voting for you, I don’t agree with you on everything, but I know you’re going to do the right thing and I can’t fathom voting for a Trump-backed insurrectionist,” Cooke said.

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