Among our endorsements this election season, the decision for the 2nd Congressional District seat was the easiest.

Mark Pocan, the Democratic incumbent, is clearly the superior choice.

It’s not that we’re particularly excited about Pocan as a candidate or Pocan’s positions on the issues. It’s about our dislike of Republican challenger Peter Theron.

In a Sept. 24 interview, for example, Theron professed the belief that “COVID-19 is over.”

Theron pointed out that the number of deaths from COVID-19 at that point—1,300—was smaller than the number of falls in 2017 attributed to falling—1,500. He also blamed the number of COVID-19 infections on the extent of testing and believes we soon will reach herd immunity to COVID-19.

“We’re doing more testing. You test more, you’re going to find more cases. We may already or soon will reach herd immunity, which is what happens with every flu season, and when that happens, the flu is over,” Theron said.

He’s wrong.

For herd immunity in the United States, 70% of the population would need to contract and recover from COVID-19, which would overwhelm hospitals and cause millions of deaths, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Theron goes on: “I don’t think the government at this point should be making any mandates in terms of COVID because, again, the death toll, the death rate, it really is over.”

Pocan, meanwhile, is counting on a vaccine to create herd immunity. He is consulting scientists, including Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Pocan said Fauci believes tens of millions of doses of vaccine will be available in the first quarter of next year and hundreds of millions of doses will be available in the second quarter.

Pocan said he would like to see better federal leadership in the fight against COVID-19 and not leave states to compete against each other.

“Without question, the single greatest thing we can do … is to wear a mask,” Pocan said. “Unfortunately, from the very top we don’t have that messaging happening.”

The two candidates are in stark contrast on what should happen in the wake of police shootings of Black people in Kenosha and elsewhere.

Pocan introduced legislation that would require police training standards across the country just like there are for truck drivers.

“Right now, there is no training standard. In most jurisdictions, you just have to have a high school degree, and from there it varies immensely what the training standards are,” Pocan said.

Theron said racial healing can’t start until Democrats stop their “violent rhetoric” against himself “and other patriots.”

We don’t believe Theron offers a rational assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic and what the federal government should do to address it. In our judgment, that disqualifies him from consideration.

We are endorsing Pocan.

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