1 in 5 candidates on November ballots are veterans
Just over 20 percent of candidates running in the 2022 midterm elections have some degree of military experience, the majority of which are men and nearly two-thirds are Republican.
That’s according to new research conducted by Pew Research Center on the roughly 1,000 candidates running for Congress or governor across the country.
Despite veterans accounting for a seemingly large chunk of candidates this campaign season, the share of veterans in Congress has drastically decreased since peaking in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1967, 75 percent of House representatives had served in the military and in 1975, 81 percent of senators were veterans.
A Pew survey carried out in the summer of 2022 found 53 percent of registered voters liked political leaders with military experience, while men and Republicans were more likely to view these candidates favorably.
In the past, it was also thought electing a candidate with a military background could help foster bipartisanship and cooperation.
However, many veterans running for election in 2022 hold far-right ideologies, despite being largely anti-interventionist when it comes to foreign policy — a traditionally Democratic view.
In the current study, researchers assessed candidates’ campaign websites, official biographies, public statements and media reports to determine any amount of time served.
Among House candidates, 22 percent reported some degree of military experience compared with 16 percent of Senate candidates. Overall, candidates with military experience were more likely to be men, to be Republicans and to have served in the Army.
Women account for less than 1 in 10 candidates with military experience in each chamber, as 16 of the 191 veterans running for the House this year are women. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is the only female veteran running for a Senate seat this year.
When it comes to governor races, 10 of the 72 candidates across the country have military experience, while six are running as Republicans and four as Democrats. Theresa Livingston, the Democratic nominee for Wyoming governor, is the only female veteran running for governor, having served in the Air Force for nine years.
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