Three veterans elected to Senate

Three military veterans were elected to the Senate on Wednesday, reversing a 32-year decline in numbers, according to Veterans Campaign, a nonpartisan group that seeks to prepare veterans for public office. 

Army National Guard Lt. Col. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstSenate adds members to pro-NATO group Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act Only all-male state Supreme Court set to get female justice MORE became the first female military veteran to join the Senate after she defeated Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) in the race for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin's seat. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Army veteran Rep. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonBipartisan group introduces retirement savings legislation in Senate Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war Hillicon Valley: DOJ appeals AT&T-Time Warner ruling | FBI agent testifies in heated hearing | Uproar after FCC changes rules on consumer complaints | Broadcom makes bid for another US company | Facebook under fire over conspiracy sites MORE (R-Ark.) defeated Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), making Cotton one of two Iraq War veterans to join the Senate, along with Ernst. 

Rep. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments Dem senator: Kavanaugh sides with 'wealthiest special interests' Judge on Trump shortlist boasts stint on Michigan's high court MORE, a retired Navy lieutenant commander, beat Republican Terri Lynn Land for a Michigan Senate seat, while Marine Lt. Col. Dan Sullivan appears poised to beat Sen. Mark Begich (D) in Alaska.  

Together, they would bring the total number of military veterans in the Senate to 21.

In the House, between 11 and 14 veterans are poised to join the lower chamber, bringing the total to between 81 and 84 veterans. Twelve veterans were elected to the House in 2012.

“Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are becoming increasingly influential on Capitol Hill, representing more than half the new Vets elected, several of them having triumphed in long-shot primaries,” Seth Lynn, Veteran Campaign's executive director, said in a statement. 

"As it currently stands, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans will account for one quarter of the Senate’s 2014 freshman class," he said. 

He also added that female veterans were becoming a major force in politics, with Ernst's win, and the potential win for Martha McSally (R), a former A-10 fighter jet pilot who is tied with Arizona incumbent Rep. Ron Barbour (D).  

Just two incumbent veterans lost Tuesday. Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.), who has been in Congress for less than a year; and Rep. William Enyart (R-Ill.), who was defeated by fellow Veteran Mike Bost.