Pro-Iraq war vets group backs Democrat Marshall

A veterans group that supports the Iraq war endorsed its first Democrat of the cycle on Tuesday, picking Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) in his race against retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Rick Goddard (R).

It is the second straight cycle in which Vets for Freedom has backed Marshall, a centrist and Vietnam veteran. The group also backed Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who used to be a Democrat and still caucuses with them, in 2006.

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Vets for Freedom has endorsed more than a dozen other congressional candidates this cycle, and until Tuesday they were all Republicans. It backed Marshall over a Republican, former Rep. Mac Collins (Ga.), in 2006.

Goddard is considered a top GOP recruit, but the endorsement could help Marshall in a district full of veterans. The group said it was not an easy decision to make.

“It’s been tough. We’ve been talking to both candidates, but Congressman Marshall has been great for us,” said Vets for Freedom Chairman Pete Hegseth.

Hegseth said the fact that the race is considered a top target makes the group more likely to do ads for Marshall if it decides to launch ads in congressional races.

Marshall spokesman Doug Moore said: “Jim’s been extremely supportive of our military and our veterans, and he’s honored to have their support as well.”

Goddard spokesman Tim Baker said the candidates “are both proud of their service to this country,” but that voters are tired of professional politicians.

“Gen. Goddard has spent a lifetime training for this job and his candidacy offers Georgians that new vision they are looking for in their leaders,” Baker said.