The number of vets in Congress appears headed down again
By: Leo Shane III
November 7, 2018
WASHINGTON — After Tuesday’s midterm contests, the number of female veterans and younger veterans in Congress are rising but the overall number of veterans in Congress remains on a steady decline.
Navy veteran Mikie Sherrill greets voters during a candidate forum in New Jersey on Oct. 9, 2018. Sherrill is one of 17 new veteran candidates to win a congressional seat in Tuesday's midterm elections. (Mary Altaffer/AP)In a contentious election which saw Democrats take over the House and Republicans add to their majority in the Senate, 77 veterans won elections across the country. Combined with 15 incumbent veterans in the Senate who did not face election, that guarantees at least 92 veterans will be part of the 116th session of Congress in January.
As of Wednesday morning, 10 races involving veteran candidates were still undecided. If all of those veterans were to win — an unlikely scenario, given the unofficial results at press time — that would still only match the 102 veterans who were in office at the start of the 115th session.
Still, Veterans Campaign Executive Director Seth Lynn said he sees plenty of positives in Tuesday’s midterm results for veteran candidates.
“We saw an uptick in the number of non-incumbent veterans who got major party nominations this cycle,” he said. “We had an uptick in the number of women veterans. And we have a huge cohort of incoming veterans now.
“We’re seeing more of the younger veterans taking their place in Congress.”
Of the 77 election-night winners, 17 of them are new candidates. Lynn said that’s the biggest class of freshman veteran lawmakers since 2010.
Almost half of the veterans in Congress in January will be individuals who served after Sept. 11, 2001. Of the 92, 25 are Democrats and 67 are Republicans.
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