Military veterans launch With Honor to elect principled, next-generation veterans to Congress
New cross-partisan organization will provide strategic support for 25-35 candidates in 2018
CHARLOTTE, NC - With Honor – a new cross-partisan political organization focused on increasing the number of next-generation veterans in Congress – formally launched today after months of preparation. Co-founded and led by Marine veteran, author, and entrepreneur Rye Barcott, With Honor plans to support 25+ candidates – Republicans, Democrats and independents – in 2018.
“The number of veterans in Congress is at a record low, and With Honor believes a surge of new principled leaders is needed to reverse the record-high dysfunction and partisanship in Washington D.C.,” said Barcott, who served five years in the Marines, including tours in Bosnia, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq. “A new generation of veterans is ready to serve in Congress. They value teamwork and know how to get things done in tough places regardless of their party. They’re the kinds of principled, proven leaders we need.”
There are more than 100 next-generation veterans running for Congress in 2018, and in the coming months With Honor will select a slate of 25+ of the most capable candidates to endorse based on their leadership history, potential to win, and willingness to take a pledge to lead with integrity, civility, and courage. The pledge includes a commitment to meet with someone from another party once each month and sponsor legislation with a member of another party at least once a year.
With Honor plans to spend $30 million in 2018 supporting many endorsed candidates in both primary and general election contests and will focus on research, advertising, and get-out-the-vote efforts. With Honor’s advisory board includes post 9/11 veterans and Gold Star family members J.D. Vance, Nate Fick, Ryan Manion, and Jake Wood, as well as prominent American leaders such as Michael Mullen, George Shultz, and Robert Gates.
Next-generation veterans who want to run for office face high hurdles. The average cost of a Congressional race has quadrupled in the past 20 years; most veterans do not have access to affluent fundraising and political networks.
“Younger veterans are often at a disadvantage to run for office because they have been out of their home districts while serving our country,” noted Shultz, a Marine Corps veteran and former Secretary of State during the Reagan Administration. Shultz serves on With Honor’s advisory board and has mentored and advised generations of veterans who have served in Congress.
The decline in the number of veterans in Congress has corresponded with a rise in partisanship and collapse of Americans’ trust in Congress. Twenty-five years ago, veterans represented nearly half of the House of Representatives. Today, veterans represent less than a fifth of the House. Recent polls show just 12 percent of Americans have confidence in Congress.
“Hyper-partisanship in Washington is directly correlated to the inability to get anything done,” said Admiral Mullen (ret.), the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a member of With Honor’s advisory board. “One of the things that most attracted me to With Honor is its focus on getting next-generation veterans elected who can work together to create a government that works for and is trusted by the American people.”
With Honor is a federally registered “super PAC.” With Honor has an affiliated 501(c)(4) entity called With Honor Action, which serves as the organization’s policy and social-welfare arm.