NPR logo Congress Likely To Have Fewer Veterans, Despite Influx Of New Candidates

Election 2010

Congress Likely To Have Fewer Veterans, Despite Influx Of New Candidates

Rep. Joe Sestak, a senatorial candidate from Pennsylvania, is a former Navy admiral who served in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. Sestak is running against Republican Pat Toomey, a former House representative. William Thomas Cain/Getty Images North America hide caption

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William Thomas Cain/Getty Images North America

The 2010 midterm elections include 27 candidates who are veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the Home Post blog from KPBS. An analysis of that number gives an interesting snapshot of America's new generation of veteran politicians:

  • 18 are Republicans; 9 are Democrats
  • 25 are in House races; 2 are Senate hopefuls

Writing on the Human Rights section of the site, Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, looks ahead to the impact the veterans of recent wars — some 2.1 million, by his count — might have on U.S. politics in the years ahead.

For an idea of what that might look like, consider these numbers from a CNN report: In 1969, there were 398 veterans serving in Congress — which then had a total of 535 seats.

Overall, there are 110 veterans — from any era — running for Congress in this year's elections. But despite that large number, there will likely be fewer veterans in Congress next year, according to the nonpartisan group Veterans Campaign.

Speaking to the Military Times recently, Seth McCormick Lynn, the executive director of Veterans Campaign, said that of the 121 veterans currently serving in Congress, the House will likely see a drop from its current total of 95 veterans. It's worth noting that Lynn's number of 121 includes two non-voting delegates to Congress.

For now, the group is almost evenly split among the two parties, with 61 Democrats and 60 Republicans. It'll be interesting to see if that continues into next year. Lynn tells the MT that today's younger veterans are more likely to run as Republicans.

Of course, more veterans are voting than running for office this year. And as The Washington Post reports, many veterans see the midterm election from a perspective that's a bit different from most of the electorate.