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.