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Dems fight to wrest veterans mantle from GOP ahead of 2018 midterms
Democrats are on a wide-ranging mission to wrest the veterans vote from Republicans – courting them with the promise of better jobs and running dozens of returning military servicemembers in the 2018 midterms.
[…] “We have seen an incredible amount of inspiring Democratic veterans step up to run for Congress this cycle. And that has absolutely helped us expand the midterm map and put Republicans further on their heels,” Tyler Law, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman, said.
While the DCCC’s recruiting efforts have yielded roughly 30 military veteran candidates, House Democrats have also begun a separate effort to pursue better employment opportunities for veterans, part of their larger “Jobs for America” initiative.
[…] Wasserman also warned that winning candidates need more than a muscular military resume, including a command of policy — but cited Brendan Kelly, in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, and Pat Ryan, in New York’s 19 Congressional District, as candidates to watch.
Among the other candidates getting attention are Josh Butner, a 23-year Navy veteran and former SEAL whose family’s military history dates back to the Mexican-American War.
Democrats Pin Their Hopes on War Heroes
[…] Looking ahead to next year’s election, Wasserman told The Daily Beast that Democrats are in a stronger position at this point than they were in 2006 “because the Republican vulnerability is apparent earlier. It wasn’t until mid 2006 that Democrats realized they had a good chance to win back the House.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, has drawn up an ambitious battlefield of 80 races, the largest in a decade, in an effort to win the 24 seats needed to claim the majority in the House.
“The Republicans made a mess of their unified control of Washington,” says DCCC national press secretary Tyler Law, expanding opportunities for Democrats, including those trying to unseat Republican representatives in 23 districts that Hillary Clinton won last year.
Some of the 80 targets are on the DCCC’s list for reasons other than pure math. Josh Butner, a retired Navy Seal, was at a fundraiser in Georgetown earlier this month talking about his campaign to unseat Republican Duncan Hunter in a staunchly Republican, heavily military district in San Diego. Hunter is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department for allegedly using campaign contributions to cover personal expenses such as school tuition and orthodontic bills for his children, plus expensive vacations that included airfare for his daughter’s pet rabbit.
[…] Butner is the kind of candidate Democrats need to make inroads in GOP strongholds. After serving 23 years in the Navy in the elite Seal force, he was driving to work one day and heard an NPR story about how there were not enough candidates to fill local school boards. He thought that was outrageous, and that somebody should do something about it.
[…] Butner was pleasantly surprised at his school board colleagues’ dedication to the kids, and his desire for public service was then heightened by the unexpected death of his mother this January. He realized at age 48 that he might not have as much time as he thought. Local Democrats encouraged him to set his sights higher, and he’d read reports about the Democrats seeking veterans. But he wants to be clear that the first move was his. “They didn’t recruit me—I raised my hand to do this.”