Three veterans launch Dem House bids

Three veterans launched House campaigns on Monday to unseat three Republican incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections.

Retired Navy SEAL Josh Butner (D) launched his campaign to unseat Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). Butner, who is currently a member of a local Board of Education, is the fourth Democrat to announce a run against Hunter.

President Trump carried Hunter’s district by 15 points, but Hunter has become a top Democratic target in 2018 and is currently under criminal investigation for an alleged campaign finance violation.

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The House Ethics Committee announced late last month that the Justice Department is investigating Hunter, who has served in Congress since 2009.

Still, it’ll be an uphill climb for Democrats in a Republican-trending district where Duncan was easily reelected in 2016.

Air Force veteran and business executive Chrissy Houlahan (D) announced she is running against Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.). Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE carried Costello’s district by less than a point.

Costello has represented his GOP-leaning district since 2015. Democrats are already targeting Costello for his vote to advance the House GOP’s bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The American Health Care Act, which faced both internal Republican opposition and energetic grassroots criticism from Democrats, ended up being pulled ahead of a House floor vote last month.

Former Army Ranger Jason Crow (D) launched a bid against Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.). Clinton carried Coffman’s district by nearly 9 points and the Colorado Republican has been a top Democratic target for several cycles.

Crow served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and served as a member of the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs.

Democrats’ early recruitment effort signals that they’re gearing up for the 2018 cycle and looking to flip seats with their eyes on the House majority.

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The party will need to flip 24 seats, though that number could change based on the results in the five special House elections.

It’s a tall order for Democrats, with any predictions complicated by how far off the election is. But party activists point to the midterm trend that the party of the incumbent president historically loses House seats.

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