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 ErnstCrenshaw to Trump: 'Stop talking about McCain' Stop asking parents to sacrifice Social Security benefits for paid family leave Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court 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. 


Army veteran Rep. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSenate rejects border declaration in major rebuke of Trump Hillicon Valley: Doctors press tech to crack down on anti-vax content | Facebook, Instagram suffer widespread outages | Spotify hits Apple with antitrust complaint | FCC rejects calls to delay 5G auction Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court 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 PetersDems seeking path to Senate majority zero-in on Sun Belt Lawmakers push to award Aretha Franklin the Congressional Gold Medal Congress sends bill renewing anti-terrorism program to Trump 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.