Veterans pushing into politics find a ready army of money, support

DFL candidate Dan Feehan met with supporters in Rochester.
DFL candidate for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District Dan Feehan meets with supporters in Rochester.

This year’s midterm elections have seen a surge in the number of veterans running for office — and that trend is playing out in southern Minnesota.

There, Iraq War vet Dan Feehan won the DFL endorsement to replace 1st District Rep. Tim Walz, who is seeking the party’s nomination for governor.

That win was partly boosted by a national network of political groups that are working across the country to propel campaigns like Feehan’s.

The support comes with a significant amount of money.

• ‘The DFL Hunger Games’: What’s next for Democrats?

Earlier this year, a group called With Honor, which supports veteran candidates in both major parties, spent at least $58,000 on television ads and mailers supporting Feehan’s campaign. They touted his two tours in Iraq and his teaching experience with Teach for America.

It’s experience, Feehan said, that makes him a good candidate.

“I feel I have a degree of wisdom that makes me a better decision maker and one that knows the true stakes that policies and laws have,” he said.

Itemized donations from across the country

These figures do not include unitemized donations, those contributions by an individual that total less than $200. Donations by individuals who have donated $200 or more to campaigns have information reported by the Federal Election Commission. Itemized donations to the Feehan campaign from Minnesotans represented only around a quarter of total donations though the end of March. The most money came from donors in New York during the reporting period. Source: Federal Election Commission

With Honor’s Democratic political director Ellen Zeng said Feehan is one of 400 veterans running for office this year. Her group, which formed last year, is supporting only a sliver of those candidates.

Zeng said it was Feehan’s service that caught her group’s attention.

“His record, and his story and his commitment to service is what we really look for in candidates,” she said. “Veterans have served something larger than themselves and that’s the reason they are better members of Congress.”

Federal law bars groups like…

Leave a Reply