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The Fighting Dems is a nickname given to more than 60 military veterans who ran for Congress as Democrats in the United States' 2006 congressional elections. Five of these candidates were elected to the House of Representatives and one was elected to the Senate. The term Fighting Dem can be applied to all non-incumbent military veterans running for Congress in 2006 as Democrats.
Other generic names have been used. Mother Jones refers to the group as "The Capitol Brigade". The Draft Zinni campaign describes them as the "Security Dems" and part of the "Blue Force".Contents
On December 20, 2005, a group of Fighting Dems met in Washington, D.C. for a strategy session and voted on a name for their coalition: Veterans for a Secure America. On February 8, 2006, nearly 40 of them met again in Washington to gather outside of the U.S. Capitol. The event was led by former Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, a Vietnam veteran who with the rest of the veterans chartered the Veterans for a Secure America (VSA). To date the VSA is the only organized group of Fighting Dems though not all Fighting Dems are part of the VSA.Philosophy
On October 1, 2006, Army Major and congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth made the weekly Democratic radio address blasting George W. Bush saying "Instead of a plan or a strategy, we get shallow slogans like 'mission accomplished' and 'stay the course,'" but "Those slogans are calculated to win an election. But they won't help us accomplish our mission in Iraq" She explained that the United States needs "a Congress that will ask the tough questions and work together for solutions rather than attacking the patriotism of those who disagree". Further she said, "It is time to encourage Iraqi leaders to take control of their own country and make the tough choices that will stop the civil war and stabilize the country."List of Fighting Dems House races
Candidates, followed by state abbreviation and district number
Around 9:20 p.m. on Election Day, Speaker-of-the-House-elect Nancy Pelosi came out and addressed the crowd;“ ...
let's hear it for our candidates all across the country -- our fighting Dems, our vets who are running!...All across the board these candidates have excellent credentials, great ideals, and they are, again, fighters for the future. Let's hear it for our candidates!"”
The challengers in the House who managed to defeat their incumbents were Chris Carney (PA-10), Patrick Murphy (PA-08), Joe Sestak (PA-07), and Tim Walz (MN-01). Additionally, Phil Hare (IL-17) was elected to succeed fellow Democrat Lane Evans. In the Senate, Jim Webb (VA) was elected. A post-election analysis revealed that while the Democratic veteran candidates were the most salient in 2006, Republican veteran candidates enjoyed higher vote shares that year on average.See also