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Harvard Law student drops from western Wisconsin congressional race

Four months after launching campaign, Milwaukee native Aaron Nytes withdraws from 3rd congressional race

Sunlight shines on the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this Nov. 2, 2020, file photo sunlight shines on the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington. Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

A Harvard Law student running for Wisconsin’s 3rd congressional district has withdrawn from the 2024 race four months after launching his campaign.

Aaron Nytes announced the end of his candidacy late Sunday night. The third-year student at Harvard Law School does not live in the 3rd district, but is originally from the Milwaukee area and is a graduate of Marquette University.

Nytes entered the Democratic primary in August, hoping to unseat first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden.

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In a letter, Nytes said he wanted to run for office “to invest in the American working class.”

“Unfortunately, my situation is such that I will not be the one to spearhead this effort in the 3rd District,” Nytes wrote. “With other endeavors occupying much of my time, I cannot give it my all — and that’s what the people of Wisconsin deserve.”

Nytes endorsed Eau Claire business leader Rebecca Cooke in his statement, calling Cooke “a proven leader and thoughtful person”.

Even with Nytes’ withdrawal, the Democratic primary remains crowded. Along with Cooke, former La Crosse County Board Chair Tara Johnson; state Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point; and political newcomer Eric Wilson of Eau Claire are still vying for the chance to face Van Orden next November.