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Tuesday could mean more vets in Congress

Nov. 5, 2012 - 10:45AM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 5, 2012 - 10:45AM  |  
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For the first time since 1980, the number of veterans in Congress could increase as a result of Tuesday's election.

Seth Lynn, director of the Center for Second Service at George Washington University, said the combination of 82 incumbent veterans running for re-election in the House of Representatives, and prospects for additional veterans winning their first election, would result in a big bump in representation.

There are 107 veteran challengers facing election on Tuesday, 60 Republicans and 47 Democrats, Lynn said.

Lynn calculated the potential change by looking at the political party of every veteran running for Congress and whether they were running in a congressional district that leans for or against the veteran's party. This year, "more nominees are running in winnable races," Lynn said in a statement. "That is, districts that are not considered safe for the opposing party."

Of the challengers, at least 43 veterans running as Republicans and 40 running as Democrats face defeat because their districts heavily favor the other party.

The possibility of having more veterans in Congress comes despite some predictions earlier this year that veterans had little chance of winning because the economy, rather than national security, is the primary focus, Lynn said. "Of greater importance than veterans' national security credentials is their ability to inspire America's confidence," he said.

The Center for Second Service is a new program at George Washington University's graduate school for political management that educates service members and veterans on public service. It is affiliated with the Veterans' Campaign, a nonprofit organization that provides workshops for veterans interested in running for political office.

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