Military veterans have, in recent times, tended to vote Republican, but a Charlottesville man is hoping to change that – launching a campaign called Mission First.
After losing his party’s nomination for Congress in the Fifth District, R.D. Huffstetler had leftover cash from the state’s Democratic party – money the former Marine hoped to use in another kind of campaign.
“Traditionally veterans have really affiliated with the Republican party, and you know my Uncle Bill was in Vietnam, and he has a purple heart, so as far as I’m concerned he can vote however he wants, but at the same time we want to fight for every vote," he explains. "I think having veterans in the process opens that door – veteran to veteran contact, and veterans in Virginia make up 750,000 voters.”
Huffstetler points out that it was a Democrat – Franklin Roosevelt – who signed the original GI bill and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb who brought that legislation up to date.
“So we have a long history of supporting veterans in our party, and we want to make sure people know that.”
Mission First is campaigning for Democrats in four of the contested Congressional races in Virginia.