FIRST ON FOX: Florida Republican Rep. Michael Waltz highlighted the number of Republican military veterans heading to Congress and the work with his Frontline Patriots Political Action Committee (PAC) to get them elected.
Congress is seeing a massive class of military veterans going to Washington, with nearly 100 veterans going to the Capitol.
Several GOP veteran candidates backed by the Frontline Patriots PAC secured election wins to Congress during the 2022 midterms, including incoming Reps. Brandon Williams, of New York, John James, of Michigan, and Zach Nunn, of Iowa.
The Florida Republican said he thinks there are “three drivers” behind the surge in former military service members running for office.
One driver was the GOP’s defiant gains in the 2020 election, when each seat won “was a minority, a woman, or a veteran.” Waltz said the second driver came from his goal to replicate the winning strategy House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, of New York, used with women GOP candidates and implementing that with GOP veteran candidates.
“Elise Stefanik has enjoyed a lot of success in recruiting and supporting Republican women to run. She started that effort in 2020,” Waltz said. “I wanted to mirror her and make 2022 the year of the Republican veteran.”
“And three, after Afghanistan, we started seeing veterans come out of the woodwork and say, never again are we going to have that kind of debacle on our watch, that kind of moral stain on our national conscience and on many of theirs,” Waltz continued.
“And with us facing invasions in Europe, unprecedented threats from China, our border out of control, we just had a record amount of veterans reaching out,” he added.
Waltz said the robust number of veterans seeking office was “good news” but they needed to “get more organized,” so he formed the Patriot PAC to support these veterans in getting elected.
The Florida Republican said the PAC has “great success” in supporting the veteran candidates, noting that even though they “didn’t get as many” elected as they wanted, they helped get “50%” of the candidates elected.
“I mean 50% is pretty darn strong. And we flipped, by our count, seven seats, so that’s your majority right there,” Waltz said.
Waltz noted that the military going woke “absolutely” drove Republican veteran candidates to get into their races, saying they wanted to continue serving but did not like the military’s over-prioritization, “almost obsession with climate and gender, race and all of the things” they have focused on.
Waltz noted that the veterans running, many of which are around his age, were taught that “none of those things matter in the foxhole” when fighting with one’s brothers and sisters in arms.
“And I think all of us would agree that the enemy’s bullet could care less about the color of your skin,” Waltz said. “They just care if you’re wearing an American flag on your arm or not.”
The congressman said the newly-elected veterans will bring a “fresh perspective” and intangible skills to the congressional table, and that, while they may not agree on every issue, their “ethos” of “teamwork,” “self-sacrifice,” “leadership and discipline” is what Americans want to see in their elected officials.