More vets enlisting in the electoral wars

By David Eldridge, The Washington Times

The wars they fought in are still raging, but a surge of veterans from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan are already running hard for public office and shaking up congressional races across the country.

It is estimated that the number of candidates with military records on the 2010 ballot will double compared with just two years ago. With polls showing some voters unhappy with incumbents and nervous about defense and security issues under President Obama, many of the challengers fresh from the ranks are mounting strong challenges in local and state races.

“With each year, the quantity and the quality of the veterans seeking office is increasing,” said Pete Hegseth, the executive director of Vets for Freedom, a nonpartisan political action committee that supports candidates who are hawks on national security.

Mr. Hegseth said veterans are getting into the 2010 races for many of the same reasons as other reform-minded candidates.

“Veterans are driven by the same frustrations that the public has with what is happening in Washington … the fiscal irresponsibility and the financial crisis that our country is facing,” the 29-year-old Iraq veteran told The Washington Times.

Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats officially track the number of veterans running for Congress, but political action groups estimate as many as 40 Iraq and Afghanistan warriors-turned-politicians are competing in party primaries across the country this year.

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