More than 200 veterans were on the ballot for seats in the House and Senate in Tuesday's midterm elections, according to "cross-partisan" group With Honor, a record number in an era where the number of lawmakers with military experience is at an all-time low. And after what feels like the longest election cycle in recent memory, dozens eked out major upsets across the country.
While the dust settles and the contours of the new political map in Washington are still taking shape, here's a look at some of the vets planning on making their mark — for better or worse.
Former Air Force intelligence officer and Republican nominee Denver Riggleman scored a victory over Democrat Leslie Cockburn in Virginia's 5th congressional district, a race we watched closely because of Riggleman's much-publicized love for "Bigfoot erotica"
Marine Corps veteran and Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter kept his California seat despite a federal grand jury indictment alleging he used upwards of $250,000 in campaign funds for personal items like "[golf] balls for the wounded warriors."
Former Special Forces commander Michael Waltz clinched Florida's 6th congressional district thanks to some significant backing from President Donald Trump — which is ironic considering that Waltz spent 2016 pushing to keep Trump out of the Oval Office. Fun fact: After Trump won, Waltz emailed Task & Purpose and asked if we would take his ad down (we didn't).
Texas Republican congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw, who served with SEAL Team 3 and spent the weekend in the middle of a mini-controversy after erstwhile skater bro Pete Davidson mocked his war injury, won by a significant margin.
Democrat Amy McGrath, the first female Marine to fly an F/A-18 on a combat mission, lost in Kentucky's 6th congressional district after a long, hard-fought campaign that became representative of the broader surge of female candidates in this year's election cycle.
Just in case you were hoping for one more race to keep an eye on: Air Force veteran Republican Rep. Martha McSally, the first American woman to fly combat missions and pioneering A-10 pilot, is in a dead heat for a critical Arizona Senate seat.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.