News & Politics

Due to Biden-Harris Errors, More Post-9/11 Veterans Pursue Political Office

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

Many of the post-9/11 military generation now serve in the halls of Congress, from well-known senators like Arkansas’ Tom Cotton and Iowa’s Joni Ernst, and representatives like Dan Crenshaw, Mike Gallagher, Seth Moulton, and Michael Waltz — the first U.S. Army Green Beret in Congress — to lesser known men like Reps. Jared Golden, Tony Gonzales, Van Taylor, and Brian Mast. Veterans from both parties are appalled by the Biden administration’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal, and now more want to enter the political arena.

Two veterans want to beat out former NFL star and Mitch McConnell/Donald Trump-endorsed Herschel Walker for the Republican nomination in Georgia’s big U.S. Senate race next year. Kelvin King, who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy, also played football and is now a business owner.

Latham Saddler joined the U.S. Navy after 9/11, and also worked on the National Security Council during the Trump administration.

Republican Cory Mills is a U.S. House candidate in Florida’s 7th congressional district. The 41-year-old saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan with the U.S.  Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Mills most recently worked in the Defense Department.

The bronze star recipient has been making the cable news rounds and recently said the current administration is “running on an America last agenda.”

About the chaotic surrender in Afghanistan, Mills said he was horrified by the Taliban’s rapid takeover and the fact that Afghans who assisted the American war effort for over two decades left behind. While he supported withdrawing from Afghanistan, Mills does not support a complete withdrawal, because no American forces would be in the country to prevent al Qaeda from reestablishing a foothold to launch attacks. Like many non-isolationists, he’d prefer a small counterterrorism force, and to have held Bagram Air Base. Mills is also concerned about China filling the vacuum left by America’s exit.

Related: Taliban and China Become Allies

If Mills wins the August primary, he would take on incumbent Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a rare moderate Democrat. The 43-year-old has represented the diverse swing district north and east of Orlando since 2017.

 

Other veterans also want to right the wrongs abroad by heading to Washington.

Mike Durant, who recently announced his U.S. Senate candidacy in Alabama, certainly has a story.

The 60-year-old New Hampshire native spent 22 years in the military, including as a helicopter pilot in Somalia, where he and his crew were famously shot down in 1993 during Operation Gothic Serpent. Durant was the only survivor in the crash and was taken captive for almost two weeks. He is one of several people vying for the seat longtime Republican Sen. Richard Shelby is leaving.

“Alabamians have shown that they really like an outsider, a non career politician. And if you look at the race, I’m the only one in the race right now,” Durant said.

Other candidates are former U.S. ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard, U.S. Marine veteran Mike Dunn, and current Rep. Mo Brooks, the Trump endorsee, who finished third in the 2016 Senate primary.

Last but surely not least, five retired Navy SEALs emphasized a continuing desire to fight for their country.

All are Republicans, including Eli Crane (Ariz.), Brady Duke (Fla.), Morgan Luttrell (Texas), Derrick Van Orden (Wis.), and former interior secretary Ryan Zinke, who’s seeking to represent Montana’s 2nd congressional district, a new seat created after the 2020 census.

There are several more veterans running for office, or who currently hold a congressional seat. We will surely hear more from them in the coming months.