Democrats are seeking the help of military veterans to help push their party over the edge in their fight to retake control of the House in 2018.
Leaders in the Democratic party are trying to recruit at least two dozen military veterans to challenge Republicans in the 2018 midterms, according to the Associated Press.
Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a veteran of Iraq who served four tours of duty, says that veterans have the proven ability to put country before politics, a trait he believes will attract independent voters who may otherwise vote Republican.
“Veterans have had the experience of putting the country first, before personal politics,” Moulton said.
Democrats will need to win 24 seats in 2018 to reclaim House majority.
Several military veterans have already answered the call in some of the 79 Republican-held House districts that have been identified as top targets by Democratic leadership.
One of those veterans, former Air Force officer Chrissy Houlahan, is challenging two-term Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa. She said President Donald Trump’s rhetoric was a key motivating factor in her decision to run for Congress.
“All the bravado and the wailing and gnashing of teeth isn’t the way we conduct ourselves as professional service members,” Houlahan said of the president’s words and manner.
Jason Crow, a former Army Ranger who is challenging five-term Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., also said he was “troubled” by Trump’s tenure in office to date.
“I’m deeply troubled by President Trump and what he’s trying to do to the country and our democracy,” he said.
Crow said that as a combat veteran, he has what it takes to serve the country in a non-political way and stand up to a system that he says is broken.
“Republicans, Democrats, unaffiliated, every different background, every part of the country, urban, rural, every rung of the economic ladder, and they have to come together very quickly … or the mission fails,” Crow said.
The number of military veterans serving in Congress has fallen dramatically in the past few decades.
Seventy-three percent of the members of the 92nd Congress, which met from 1971 through 1972, were military veterans.
Only 18.8 percent of the members in today’s Congress — 102 members — are military veterans, according to the Congressional Research Service.
However, about one-third of the freshmen congressmen who won seats in the 2016 elections have direct military experience.
Thirty-four percent of freshman Republican representatives of the 115th congress are military veterans, compared to the 12 percent of freshman Democrat representatives with military service.
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