Home > Federal, National > Top 10 Reasons GOP Must Rally behind Veteran Candidates – The Unlikely Chicago Republican and his statement of the Supreme court 2nd Amendment decision

Top 10 Reasons GOP Must Rally behind Veteran Candidates – The Unlikely Chicago Republican and his statement of the Supreme court 2nd Amendment decision

July 2, 2010

June 28, 2010

Top 10 Reasons GOP Must Rally behind Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran Candidates

By Kieran Michael Lalor

War on Terror Vets Should Be the Tip of the GOP Spear

10. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Are a Rare Breed: The current generation of veterans is pure volunteer. They joined the military when there was no draft, when military service was the exception rather than the rule, as it was in previous generations. Many Iraq and Afghanistan vet candidates enlisted after 9/11, knowing combat was inevitable.

9. Sarah Palin Has Their Back: In a March Facebook posting, Gov. Sarah Palin, the mother of an Iraq vet, said, “There are a number of great veteran candidates running for office this year, and there are some excellent organizations dedicated to helping them, including: Iraq Vets For Congress[.]”

8. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Have Sacrificed Much: If you think about the lifestyle that our veterans’ peers enjoyed in the first decade of 21st century while they themselves were fighting radical Islam, it is quite clear that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have put this great country ahead of their own comfort and ambitions. This is precisely the type of person we want to send to Congress.

7. The Percentage of Veterans in Congress is Woefully Low: In 1981, 62% of Congress had served in the military. Today, only 22% have worn the uniform of this great nation. If there had been more veterans in Congress, there would have been a critical mass to challenge the Obama administration’s dangerously politically correct review of the Fort Hood massacre. Likewise, our military wouldn’t have to fight two wars while simultaneously fighting the Left’s attempt to use our troops as guinea pigs in the social experiment of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. National security is the most important responsibility of the federal government. Therefore, those who have experience defending the nation should be well-represented in the Congress to offer firsthand insights about polices, funding, equipment, and intelligence.

6. Gary Berntsen is Chuck Schumer’s Worst Nightmare: If you were to waterboard Chuck Schumer and ask him whom he does not want to run against, he’d gurgle out the name “Gary Berntsen.” Reason being, Berntsen is a real-deal terror warrior, and his strengths perfectly highlight Schumer’s weaknesses. Berntsen served for 23 years in the CIA’s clandestine service, where he was Chief of Station in Afghanistan at the dawn of the War on Terror. By contrast, Schumer is a self-serving career politician who couldn’t or wouldn’t stop the civilian trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed from coming to New York City.

5. War on Terror Veterans Are Better Candidates than Rich Guys: In 2008, The National Republican Congressional Committee ignored underfunded Iraq vets and supported millionaires like Sandy Treadwell, who was considered a blue-chip candidate by the press and GOP alike. Treadwell, running in New York’s 20th District, was the former Secretary of State and state GOP Chairman. He spent $7 million and mustered only 38 percent in a district that had 70,000 more Republicans than Democrats. Meanwhile, Republican Iraq veterans did much better than other Republican candidates. Even in liberal New York, where the average Republican challenger got 25% of the vote, the two Iraq veterans who ran got 42% of the vote in suburban districts evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

4. Had the GOP Establishment Gone with the Iraq Vet, They Would Have Won Murtha’s Old Seat: Party insiders rejected Bill Russell as the party nominee to run in the special election to replace the late Jack Murtha. The snub came despite the fact that the retired Lt. Col. and Iraq War veteran had given Murtha a real fight as nominee in 2008, raising $3.6 million and earning 42 percent of the vote. Instead of Russell, the establishment backed Tim Burns, who is worth nine figures and was willing to part with substantial portions of it to get the nomination. Last month, Burns got 44% in a special election running against an unknown former Murtha aide. It is easy to see what would have been had the GOP gone with the Iraq vet. Russell got 42% against one of the nation’s most entrenched incumbents in a historically horrible year for Republicans. Burns got 45% against a nobody, running for an open seat, in one of the best Republican years ever. 

3. Allen West Is a Republican Rock Star: With a chest full of medals, a commanding presence, spectacular oratorical skills, and an inspiring belief in conservative values, Lt. Col. West is poised to become the first African-American Republican in the House since J.C. Watts. In the first quarter of 2010, West outraised the incumbent two to one and was ahead 44%-42% in the initial poll of the race.

2. Character Still Matters: When you compare these citizen-soldiers striving to become citizen-statesmen with the jackals currently in Congress and contrast the military pedigree of honor and sacrifice with the culture of corruption and abuse of power, the difference is stunning.

1. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are Fearless: In this era of discontent with government, voters realize that those who have already gone eye-to-eye with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Sunni insurgency are more than equipped to stand up to special interests, party bosses, and an ideologue president.


Republican Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Endorsed by Iraq Veterans For Congress PAC:

Justin Bernier (CT-5 Navy / Afghanistan)

Kevin Calvey (OK-5 Army / Iraq)

Dan Gilyeat (KS-3 Marine Corps / Iraq)

*Tim Griffin (AR-2 Army / Iraq)

*Dr. Joe Heck (NV-3 Army / Iraq)

Jesse Kelly (AZ-8 Marine Corps / Iraq)

*Adam Kinzinger (IL-11 Air Force / Iraq and Afghanistan)

*Todd Lally (KY-3 Air Force / Iraq and Afghanistan)

*Patrick Murray (VA-8 Army / Iraq)

*Illario Pantano (NC-7 Marine Corps / Iraq)

*Nick Popaditch (CA-51 Marine Corps / Iraq)

Rocky Raczkowski (MI-9 Army / Afghanistan)

Brian Rooney (MI-7 Marine Corps / Iraq)

Lang Sias (CO-7 Air Force)

Steve Stivers (OH-15 Army / Iraq)

Allen West (FL-22 Army / Iraq)

Gary Berntsen (NY-SEN CIA / Afghanistan)

* candidate already won primary

Kieran Michael Lalor is founder of Iraq Veterans For Congress, a federally registered political action committee supporting the congressional campaigns of conservative Republican veterans.

June 26, 2010

The Unlikely Republican

By Kyle Stone

In a year when Republicans aim high to take back the Congress, it seems they haven’t forgotten about fighting the more onerous battles as well, especially in Chicago. Meet dark horse candidate Isaac Hayes.  

No, not the baritone master of soul “Isaac Hayes” — but the South Side congressional candidate waging a serious campaign against Chicago’s Democratic machine. Hayes is the Republican congressional candidate in Illinois’s 2nd district. The 2nd, composed of a majority of black residents since the 1960s, last elected a Republican in 1950. Its current representative, Jesse Jackson, Jr., has served since 1995, enjoying seven landslide reelections. But residents of the district are not alone in permitting liberal-laced Kool-Aid to run through their veins. Long constrained by the Democratic political noose, the Windy City has been appallingly inhospitable to Republicans, and ground zero for conservative irrelevance — or so one might think.  

Hayes, however, is part of a growing contingent of vocal Chicago conservatives. A 36-year-old reverend who grew up in the troubled Chicago community of Woodlawn (he’s black, just in case you were wondering), Hayes is not without his own South Side biography. As an ordained minister at the Apostolic Church of God (the location of Obama’s 2008 Father’s Day speech), his duties range from delivering theological homilies to teaching rehabilitative strategies to local gang members. A lifelong Democrat, Hayes woke up from his geographical and ethnic indoctrination in 2006, converting to the GOP after an ideological epiphany. Akin to the famous expression, Hayes recognized the insanity of perpetuating liberal policies and expecting different results.      

He observed the dismal graduation rate for his district’s high-schoolers (around 50%), as well as a complete lack of commerce or competitive entrepreneurial spirit; entire communities in his district are without gas stations or grocery stores. Advocating school choice and fewer burdens for small business, Hayes is now speaking to some of his district’s most paralyzing issues.

His ecclesiastical background gives way to a cerebral persona. Hayes is mild-mannered and shies away from soaring rhetoric. He explains his platform with no tonal frills or catchy gimmicks — more like Joe Friday with just the facts. He gently but methodically explained to Ed Morrissey of Hot Air that free-market policies can resonate with his district’s residents if they are conveyed in a commonsense manner. Never far from his arguments are the disturbing poverty rates for communities in his district; many hover around 50%.

For the first time in decades, district residents are taking notice of the Republican candidate. Earning the endorsement of the Kankakee City News, an African-American-owned newspaper with a circulation of 37,000, Editor James Taylor, Sr. keenly noted the obvious:

Mr. Hayes may have a difficult time convincing the majority to cast a vote for a Republican, but we also recognize that the high unemployment, street and gang violence and underserved schools and communities all have occurred under the representation of Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.

City News had previously been a long-time endorser of Jackson’s reelection campaigns.

Nevertheless, Hayes remains on the front lines of the Democratic firing squad, fighting in territory where uncontested liberalism pervades the citizenry like a bad rash. But he’s fighting. At a community networking event in April, Hayes and his staff were booted by a bombastic local Democratic mayor (a contributor and vocal supporter of Jackson’s). Despite Hayes and his staff’s invitation to the event, the local official dismissed Hayes, calling him a “sellout” and just “another Alan Keyes.” 

“The way my staff and I were treated by the mayor is reminiscent of the 1950s, with a ‘No Republicans Allowed’ sign,” Hayes responded. He later remarked in a statement that the incident “only reinforces my complaint that I was discriminated against because of my political views.” Regardless of the vile racial overtones, such insolence directed towards Republicans is the norm in Chicago.

Jackson has still enjoyed six reelections with around 80%-85% of the vote, and he more recently garnered 90% with Barack Obama atop the ballot. But with Jackson making headlines more recently as “Senate Candidate No. 5” and allegations that his supporters offered to pay then-Governor Rod Blagojevich to appoint him to the Senate, Hayes sees his opening. And while Jackson’s role in the Blagojevich scandal remains unclear, he has not escaped unscathed. Named one of the fifteen most corrupt members of Congress by the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, Hayes is rightfully making Jackson’s integrity gap a campaign issue. 

Hayes’s candidacy remains a long shot. Anti-incumbent sentiment or backlash against Jackson has its limitations, especially in a wasteland of Democratic politics. No political oddsmaker will bet against Jackson, whose name alone has always carried the day. No matter; Isaac Hayes is a legitimate Republican candidate on terrain the GOP has traditionally conceded to the machine. In this sense, he already embodies a fighting spirit that the party has lacked for years. The machine is no longer the sole presence in the 2nd district. That, in and of itself, is a victory. 

Kyle Stone is a practicing attorney in Chicago, IL and serves as Membership Director for the Chicago Young Republicans. He can be contacted at mailto:kylestone@comcast.net.

Jun 28, 2010

CONTACT:  Janet D. Restivo
June 28, 2010

(312) 504-4085


CHICAGO:  Republican nominee for Illinois 2ndCongressional District Isaac Hayes released the following statement following today’s Supreme Court decision overturning the Chicago handgun ban:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision will allow residents being held hostage by urban terrorists the opportunity to defend themselves, their families and property.  With 26 people being shot in Chicago this past weekend and 50 the week before, it is quite apparent the Chicago gun ban is not working. 

“Gangs don’t honor gun bans so infringing on the 2nd Amendment right of law abiding citizens only leaves them defenseless against violent offenders.   In communities across Chicago urban terrorists must now think twice before entering private property.”

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