Washington’s greatest hope for political bipartisanship and action may be in the hands of the nation’s most lethal outfit — U.S. Navy SEALs.
In a show of political force never before seen, five retired SEALs are running for House seats in 2022, hoping to join Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, who is expected to win a third term.
“We all believe Congress is a place where you can make a sizable impact, and I think that’s why a lot of us are trying to get there,” said first-time Republican candidate Eli Crane of Arizona, a winner on the Shark Tank investor TV show.
“I personally believe that Americans, and that includes people on the Left, are really looking for a group that they understand that they can intuitively trust to do something better,” said Derrick Van Orden, who nearly won in 2000 and who is again challenging Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Ron Kind in 2022.
Long time fan. I'm honored to have his support.
Tonight @marklevinshow endorsed my candidacy for Congress in AZ-1. Listen to his endorsement here: https://t.co/OQ3AHWpJ2j
Thank you Mark, it's an honor. pic.twitter.com/OpRiSjtEF3
— Eli Crane (@EliCrane_CEO) July 21, 2021
The “old man” of the group, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a former Montana House member running to return to Congress, said that while they are all Republican Party faithful, the SEALs “caucus” could have an outsize impact on bridging the political gap in Washington.
“I’m gonna win,” said Zinke, already endorsed by former President Donald Trump. “But I guess I'm reluctant because I know what D.C. has become. It is fixable. If I didn't think it was fixable, I wouldn't do it. We got to learn to work together as a nation. I don't think the biggest threats are Russia, China, or even Iran. I think it’s the division within this country,” he said from Kalispell, Montana.
ICYMI: @markpocan endorses @derrickvanorden for congress!
Congressman Pocan says: “Derrick, I want you to be the GOP nominee. Make no mistake… he [Van Orden] is EXACTLY what he [Congressman Pocan] wants…” pic.twitter.com/xwy906942S
— Derrick Van Orden (@derrickvanorden) July 16, 2021
What all three said SEALs, plus Brady Duke running in Florida and Morgan Luttrell in Texas, offer are teamwork and a rich work ethic. “I think a lot of veterans don’t think through a red or blue lens. I think we mostly see things through a red, white, and blue lens,” said Zinke.
Crane, 41, already endorsed by conservative media mogul Mark Levin, began his campaign this week with a provocative video that said his 13 years of Navy service proved he had “skin in the game.”
I’m a former Navy SEAL and father of five. I’ve seen too many professional politicians compromise our nation’s future and security, and I’m ready to face these challenges to cut taxes, secure our border, defend life, and ensure the safety of our families.https://t.co/sfJ8Y42Cjf
— Brady Duke (@BradyDukeFL) May 26, 2021
In an interview, he said, “To be honest, I'm tired of seeing folks go to Washington, D.C., that are self-serving. They're not willing to sacrifice, they're not courageous, and I know that I'm a little bit different when it comes to that. And so, I'm willing to do it because I think that you can make a pretty big impact there, not only in how you vote, but when you're in that room encouraging others.”
Van Orden, 51 and a strong supporter of Trump, said that he is a conservative not willing to give ground on principles but ready to find common ground on issues, a stance not common in Washington.
Another fantastic meet & greet with a packed house last night. Thank you Robert & Janet Walker for opening your home & allowing me to share my message. I am grateful for the support of my friends & family in the community that I grew up in to go fight for our TX way of life in DC pic.twitter.com/bbX5cNJdKD
— Morgan Luttrell (@MLuttrellTX) July 1, 2021
“A lot of the things that Navy SEALs bring to the table that other people don't bring to the table is that you absolutely, 100%, unequivocally understand that we'll be focused on something, you can accomplish it, and that we won't be focused on ourselves,” he said.
Van Orden, who was one of the stars in the movie Act of Valor, added, “If the Left, or the Democrat Party, however you want to say, is really going to put the country before politics, I’ll work with them every single day.”
Deeply honored to have POTUS Trump's “complete & total endorsement” for Montana's new congressional seat. POTUS Trump & I fought liberal special interests to restore sanity to public land mgmt, rebuild public lands infrastructure, care for our forests, & make USA ENERGY DOMINANT! pic.twitter.com/xgIpgANauf
— Ryan Zinke (@RyanZinke) July 9, 2021
Florida candidate Duke agreed with the "team" theme. "The one thing I believe and I know is true about our community is that those of us who have fought alongside each other are brothers. We know that we have a goal in mind and we're going to do everything as a team and as a unit to do that," he said.
Duke added, "I think that's something that needs to be restored in Congress today, and then our government. We have a keen ability to create teamwork in ways that will overcome obstacles that people would otherwise think can't be overcome."
Pollster John McLaughlin said that voters should embrace veterans and SEALs as candidates. “America has a long history of patriots who defend our freedom and democracy in war and then return home to run for office to defend the very same freedom and democracy from within the government,” he told Secrets.
“It’s little wonder that the heroes who sacrificed in our armed forces are once again leading the way to defend us and sacrifice in public service. It’s necessary for liberty to survive,” he added.
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Original Author: Paul Bedard
Original Location: SEALs have a new target: Congress