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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hackett Effect: Six Veterans Running as Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

While the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hiding from the Iraq issue, individuals are stepping up to fill the DC Establishment leadership void. In fact, there are already 6 veterans ready to serve again -- in Congress:

While fighting in Iraq, a private asked then-Capt. Patrick Murphy why U.S. forces were in the Persian Gulf nation and was told it didn't matter; there was a job to do and just try to return home safely.

"That wasn't the time to question our government," Murphy recalled.

Now, however, Murphy and five other veterans of the war are asking questions about President Bush's policies in Iraq as part of their broader Democratic campaigns to win congressional seats in next year's elections.

Given their experience in Iraq, the six Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia say they are eminently qualified to pose the tough questions.

Unlike the DCCC, these six candidates are in line with the American people:

Their reservations mirror public opinion, with an increasing number of Americans expressing concern about the mission and favoring a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll indicated only 37 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, with 62 percent disapproving.

This summer, Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran, nearly defeated Republican Jean Schmidt in a special election in an Ohio district considered a GOP stronghold. Hackett focused on his wartime experience and his opposition to Bush's policies.

Unlike the DCCC, these six candidates are doing their duty:

"Some guys don't think it's time to question our government, but the fact is I love my country," said Murphy, 31, a lawyer who fought in the 82nd Airborne Division. "We need to have an exit strategy now."

Murphy is challenging first-term Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a Republican in the northern Philadelphia suburbs of the 8th District.

Another Iraq war veteran, Texas Republican Van Taylor, is also running for a House seat, but he backs President Bush.

It's too soon to measure the impact of the war on the 2006 elections, but the handful of veterans pursuing seats in the House of Representatives is an early indicator.

The press thinks this is a story, the veterans know first-hand how high the stakes are, and it is clear that individuals are stepping up to fill the leadership vacuum created by wimpy Washington Establishment Democrats.

Please use the comments to let us know what you know about this six Democrats.

Posted at 02:17 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Democrats, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Technorati

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The last I heard there were three Iraq vets running as Democrats. To see that number rise to six is extremely encouraging. Do you know which specific districts these vets are running in and which incumbents they're running against? PA-08 seems like the kind of district ripe for the taking for Patrick Murphy, particularly against an incumbent with only one term under his belt. I hope the other seats prove to be as winnable for us and would appreciate any geographic and incumbent details that could be shared.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 02:37 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I worked for Patrick Murphy this summer, and continue to follow his campaign closely. He is, in my mind, the ideal candidate for the 8th, and the second best house pick-up chance in PA, behind Lois Murphy in the 6th. He is young, energetic, willing to work hard, and makes you want to work for a better America. His campaign has already created waves in Bucks County. The first polling data that came out on the race had him down 11% points to Fitzpatrick, the Freshman Republican Congressman, 46 to 35. Murphy though, has a 4 to 1 deficit in name recognition - and the race is that close. I've personally walked with him at a parade where he got Republican support, just as he was talking with people. Speaking on the side of the road while people were paying attention to the parade, he would capture their attention, and leave after a round of applause.

His only issue now is getting through the primary, against another veteran, although one with less qualifications and much less support, both locally and nationally, and an ex-republican, just turned democrat who was upset that he didn't get the Republican Nomination last election cycle. Sadly, this guy, Andy Warren, seems to be getting some traction, and has been reported to have had some meetings in DC with high level officials, although the extent of that is not known.

My blog: www.fofa.org/paprogressive, is working to cover the PA house races, with a strong focus on Patrick.

Posted by: PAProgressive [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 02:48 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Tim Walz in Minnesota's 1st CD is perfect - Veteran, educator, and plain-spoken about the issues that people here are genuinely worried about. The 1st is very conservative, and Gil Gutknecht is an entrenched Republican incumbent, but Walz is running a quality operation so far, and saying all the right things.

More coverage at:

and pretty much anywhere they link to in the blogroll :)

Posted by: JelloAbode [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 03:51 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm the president of Philly for Change and Patrick Murphy just wowed our group in August. I decided to help the campaign not just because the charisma is there, but he passionately beleives in standing up to Bush and his campaign was very organized at our event. He's very strong on populist economic issues and I heard him give an answer earlier this week about Don't Ask Don't Tell that warmed my heart. (He's not married, but has a girlfriend.)

Why is Philly interested? Well, there is a tiny piece of the PA-08 in Philadelphia county -- so its officially the only competitive race in our DFA group's turf.

Bob -- Give me an email if you'd like to know more about the race: adicker@phillyforchange.com

Posted by: AnneInPhilly [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 04:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


I'll extend the same offer as Anne above. If you have any questions about my experience with Patrick, you can use tom.murphy06@gmail.com to get in touch with me.

This guy is the kind of person the netroots needs to be backing.

Posted by: PAProgressive [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 04:41 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

JelloAbode, I live in Minnesota's 1st district and can assure that things have changed alot here in the last decade. The white-collar medical community of Rochester's drift from Republican stronghold to political equilibrium has fueled MN-01's status to a battleground district. In both 2000 and 2004, George Bush won MN-01 by less than three percentage points. This district is without a doubt trending our way in a state where we desperately need some rural momentum to offset the fast-growing exurban Republican juggernaut.

With that said, I have a very hard time believing that Gil Gutknecht himself is beatable. I've met the guy many times and he comes across as the stereotypical plastic politician who would melt if he standed too close to a radiator. Nonetheless, his recent independent streak on issues such as prescription drugs and voting against CAFTA is gonna make it hard to convince voters that he needs to go, even in a Democratic sweep. I would love to think this district is competitive and haven't heard enough out of Walz yet to judge the strength of his candidacy, but I don't expect to see it on Charlie Cook's competitive district short list anytime soon.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 04:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Are these six candidates are in line with the American people?

David Ashe?

David Ashe, who spent most of 2003 working as a Marine judge advocate general in Iraq, chooses his words carefully when asked whether the United States should have invaded.

There's no reason to "Monday morning quarterback the decision," said Ashe, 36, who is trying to unseat first-term Republican Rep. Thelma Drake in Virginia's 2nd District. "I would say we're in the right position to succeed. Whether or not we're going to get that success remains to be seen."

Bryan Lentz?

"I'm not anti-war, I'm anti-failure," Lentz said. "We need to define what victory is and we need to set a plan to get there. You cannot stay the course if you do not set a course."

Tim Dunn?

So we went and listened to Tim Dunn last night at the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County. Can't say that I was overly impressed. Tim will be challanging Robin Hayes for the Eighth District congress seat. He is an Iraq vet and is a long standing member of the Democratic party in Cumberland County. He is pro-life and against an ammendment for gay marriage. Like I said wasn't overly impressed but he might be our best shot at taking down Hayes. Anyone else have any thoughts on him?

And isn't the DCCC doing its duty?

Since then, the Democratic Party has been busy recruiting men in uniform to run for Congress. Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, has identified a trio of recent veterans running as Democrats in Virginia, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. Dunn would be number four.

I don't know how carefully researched this shoddy hit piece is, but it seems to me we can be glad to have at least some of these folks running, and we just might have the DCCC to thank for it. As for their not promulgating a national platform on Iraq, as I've mentioned before, you're barking up the wrong tree if you want to change House Iraq policy.

Posted by: Kagro X [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 12:00 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Wow, that is amazing and so encouraging. What I always find interesting, as an Air Force brat with an extremely liberal Family - those in the armed forces are usually labeled and assumed Republican. True or not (as is/was not with my father), maybe this would be a great time to take advantage and do a little more of our own recruiting. As witnessed and reported, once the cameras stop rolling, a large majority who serve our country are, indeed, more to the left, more in tune with "the people" then we think. That way, maybe next time President Gore takes the plunge and it is down to the wire, he won't have to worry about the absentee votes from those overseas protector in the military.

Posted by: Michael SF [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 10:28 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment