Duncan Hunter is doing his best to see that they do.
From CQ Politics:
Ex-Rep. Hunter Touts Iraq War Vets To Revive GOP
Duncan Hunter, a retired Republican who once chaired the Armed Services Committee, has decided that Iraq War veterans are the perfect candidates to revive the Republican Party in 2010.
Hunter — a Vietnam War vet who briefly sought the 2008 Republican presidential nomination — is already backing two such candidates as they launch challenges to two of the more junior members of the House Democratic majority: Jesse Kelly, who wants to take on two-term incumbent Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona’s 8th District, and Vaughn Ward, whose target in Idaho’s 1st District is freshman Democrat Walt Minnick.
Hunter said he has “a real appreciation” for “the guys coming off the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and, moreover, thinks they can make great candidates. He said the GOP needs to get away from its typical approach “where we stand up a businessman,” and instead get behind “young, hard-charging” candidates like Kelly and Ward.
But the recent electoral track record of military vet candidates is mixed, at best. The 2008 election cycle saw a proliferation of military veterans running for federal office, but few were competitive and even fewer won their races.
Hunter concedes that building up campaign infrastructure — particularly fundraising — is a challenge for candidates recently returned from the front lines. “These guys have great quality, what they didn’t have in the last race was a couple million dollars in the bank,” Hunter said.
So he’s out to change that. Hunter said he plans to continue campaigning and attending fundraisers throughout the 2010 cycle for a handful of GOP candidates.
Hopeful 2010 candidates who served in Iraq include:
– Will Breazeale for North Carolina’s 7th district.
– Kevin Calvey for Oklahoma’s vacant 5th district seat.
– Wayne Mosley for Georgia’s 12th district.
– Lee Zeldin for New York’s 1st district.
– Adam Kinzinger for Illinois’ 11th district.
– Bill Russell for Pennsylvania’s 12th district.
– Allen West for Florida’s 22nd district.