More Veterans Ran for Congress This Year Than in 2018. Here’s How the Races Went

 Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James greets supporters.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James, left, greets supporters in Farmington Hills, Mich., Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

 More veterans ran for seats or sought reelection to Congress this year than in 2018, but the overall number of vets in the House and Senate is likely to show little change, according to as-yet incomplete results from Tuesday's elections.

As of midafternoon Wednesday, 74 of the 182 veterans running for the House and Senate had been declared winners, while 83 had lost their races. The rest of the races had yet to be called, according to The Associated Press.

Check out the results of all races featuring veterans here

Going into Tuesday's elections, there were 77 veterans in the 435-member House and 18 in the 100-member Senate.

Seth Lynn, director of the nonpartisan Veterans Campaign and a University of San Francisco professor, projected that the number of veterans in the House might increase by one, to 78. He said he expects the number of veterans in the Senate to remain in the 16 to 18 range.

In their initial post-election analysis, the Veterans Campaign and the University of San Francisco said the election results showed that nine veterans had won Senate seats, while six others did not face reelection this year.

In Michigan, incumbent Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, a Navy veteran, was locked in a close race with Republican John James, a West Point graduate and Iraq veteran. Peters was declared the winner late Wednesday.

"Regardless of the outcomes, there will be a slight decrease in Senate vets next year, compared to the 18 currently serving, the 19 elected in 2018, and the 21 elected in 2016," the analysis shows.

The Veterans Campaign/University of San Francisco analysis showed that at least six and possibly as many as 13 of newly elected House members would be Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Five Republicans and one Democrat had already been declared winners by the AP, and two more, both Republicans, were leading in their races, the analysis showed.

Thus far, results in veterans races have had disappointments for both parties.

In Arizona's marquee Senate race, incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally, an Air Force veteran and A-10 Thunderbolt pilot, lost to Democrat Mark Kelly, a retired Navy captain and former astronaut.

However, Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel and Iraq veteran, retained her seat against Democrat Theresa Greenfield.

On the House side, Rep. Max Rose, D-New York, an Army National Guard captain and Afghanistan veteran, was well behind Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis with only 5% of the vote yet to be counted in the district, which represents Staten Island and a section of south Brooklyn.

Also in New York, Democrat Jackie Gordon, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Iraq veteran, is trailing well behind nonveteran Republican Andrew Garbarino in the race to succeed retiring Republican Peter King in a Long Island district.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at

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