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Current, Former Guardsmen Running for Congress

Washington Report

More than two dozen current or former National Guardsmen are running for seats in Congress in next week’s general election, according to an analysis of candidate bios.

This includes the seven drill-status Guardsmen serving in the House of Representatives who are all seeking reelection.

Three will be pursuing a second two-year term: Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., a New York Army Guard captain; Rep. William Timmons, R-S.C., a South Carolina Army Guard second lieutenant; and Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., a Maryland Army Guard colonel and a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Another three are seeking a sixth term: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a Wisconsin Air Guard lieutenant colonel; Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., a Mississippi Army Guard sergeant; and Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, an Ohio Army Guard brigadier general.  

Palazzo is the Republican co-chair of the House National Guard and Reserve Caucus.  

And Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss., a Mississippi Army Guard brigadier general, is running for a third term. He is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Meanwhile, two drill-status Guard officers are seeking a first term in the House.

Lt. Col. Justin Anderson, a Connecticut Army Guardsman, is the Republican nominee to represent Connecticut’s Second Congressional District and Lt. Col. Kai Kahele, a Hawaii Air Guardsmen, is the Democratic nominee to represent Hawaii’s Second Congressional District.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, currently represents Hawaii’s Second Congressional District. She served 17 years in the Hawaii Army Guard before transferring to an Army Reserve unit in California in June.

She announced her decision not to run for reelection earlier this year during an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for president.  

Elsewhere, Alex Skarlatos, one of the three Americans who helped stop a terror attack on a Paris-bound train in 2015, is among a handful of former Guardsmen running for election to the House. He's the Republican nominee to represent Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District.

Another is Jeff Jordan, a retired Army Guard officer who served in Washington state and Texas and completed tours at the National Guard Bureau. He is the Republican nominee to represent Virginia’s Eight Congressional District.    

One more is Troy Nehls, a retired officer who served in the Texas and Wisconsin Army Guards and the Army Reserves. He is the Republican nominee to represent Texas’s 22nd Congressional District.

In the Senate, two former Guard officers are seeking reelection.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., whose 33-year military career includes time in the Air Guard, is running for a fourth six-year term. He is the Republican co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus.

And Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who retired from the Iowa Army Guard in 2015 as a lieutenant colonel, is seeking a second term. She is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.