Remember the “Fighting Dems“? Back in 2006, there was a movement spearheaded by Markos Moulitsas et al promoting military veterans (most of them OIF and OEF vets) running for Congress. Granted, only 5 of the House candidates won, but that cohort notably included folks like Joe Sestak, Tammy Duckworth, and Jim Webb, all of whom have gone on to do some pretty big things.
But what about now? The other day, Julianal discussed Congressional candidate Tommy Sowers, a great candidate running for the House in southeastern Missouri. I mentioned it in the comments there, but I’d like to reiterate that right here in metro Atlanta, we have our very own Doug Heckman. Col. Heckman is a Green Beret who served abroad in Afghanistan and Iraq, spending a deployment to the latter as recently as this year. He is currently running for Rep. John Linder’s 7th District seat that is currently being vacated due to Linder’s retirement. Considering Gwinnett County’s rapid growth and diversity, I don’t see why this couldn’t be an opportunity for Georgia Democrats.
Find out more about Doug at dougheckman.com.
With that said, Republicans aren’t ones to lay down quietly. They are actively recruiting veteran candidates, using groups like Iraq Veterans for Congress as one of their vehicles to reclaim the House this cycle.
So what does the future hold for veteran candidates, particular in Georgia? Considering that Georgia has one of the largest military communities in the country, that there are number of training opportunities out there geared toward veterans, and the fact that, let’s face it, we have a dismal record of staying competitive and fielding candidates throughout the state (case in point, Reps. Price, Graves, and Gingrey are running unopposed), I think it’s an avenue worth exploring and investing. I certainly thought it was a good look for us when veterans Bobby Saxon and Bill Gillespie joined Heckman as Democratic candidates for the House in 2008. And with Georgia’s shifting demographics and even the likelihood of our state picking up another seat because of the Census, it’s certainly a movement worth getting behind.