Here is the sixth chapter in a series that will let you get to understand who I am a little better:
Chapter 6: The Candidate
I’ve been called a lot of things in my life (some not suitable to repeat): Midshipman, Lieutenant Commander, Naval Aviator, Capture Lead, executive, son, father, husband and daddy.
“Candidate” was one title I didn’t see coming. Though being a candidate for Congress has been an honor, it was a title I did not seek until I saw the outcome of the 2018 election. In this chapter I will explain why I decided to run (spoiler alert: I don’t want my country to turn into what California has become) and what went into the formal launch on April 10, 2019.
With just six weeks to go until polls open, let me make a quick point: I like being called a candidate, but I am not a politician. I’m quick to correct people when they say I’m a politician because to me, a politician is someone who is in politics for the wrong reason: Someone who runs and serves in office for pride, ego or because they can’t make ends meet in the real world. Most Americans see through politicians, and most Americans don’t like politicians. I am proud to be a candidate and will be even more proud to be called your Representative after we win the election, but my goal is to never be seen as a politician.
My decision to run was based on seeing someone take office who wasn’t qualified and wasn’t representative of our District. The day after the election in November of 2018, I was resolved to investigate running for the seat. My investigation was anchored to 2 critical questions:
1. Could this seat be won by a conservative Republican?
2. If so, could I be the one to win?
In Katie Hill’s first months in Congress, I saw how she was voting and I was convinced then, more than ever, that she was not the moderate she had advertised herself as. So, I spent four months exploring the data from the last election, talking to local elected officials and leaders in the district, and trying to get a sense of where the District was heading. I sat down with all of the Republicans who I thought would potentially run for the seat, as I didn’t want to step on their toes and leave my job if I thought they would be running as well. In the end, none of the folks who I thought would be strong candidates wanted to run. They were either too busy in their current jobs, had personal constraints that prevented them from running, or didn’t believe we could win the seat back.
Long story short, after 3-4 months of intense research, soul searching and deep prayer, I decided that this Congressional seat was recoverable and I was confident that this District would resonate with a qualified combat veteran who had already served his nation and was now leading in the aerospace industry. I firmly believed (and still do), that I represent the values of this great District, so by mid-March of 2019, I committed to running for office, and in full afterburner.
Let me be clear on one issue…no one put me up to this. My close friends and family know this. My coworkers know this, but there are some folks on both sides of the aisle who think I was pushed into the race. Those people can’t understand why a guy like me would do this. Why would I give up a perfect job and make such quality of life compromises? The people who don’t understand why…are politicians.
We officially launched our campaign for Congress on April 10, 2019. My goal was to come out hard and fast, and to continue to accelerate over the course of the following 18 months. We are executing that plan to this day.
On day one, we launched with the endorsements of several key leaders throughout the district after weeks of meetings and personal discussions. We now have the support of more than 30 elected officials, leaders, and the LA GOP (see photos for latest list).
It’s been a wild ride and the last 10 months have been focused on running a grassroots campaign and surrounding myself with teammates and supporters who are also in this race for the right reasons. Our only goal is to protect our District and our Nation. My team is comprised of true patriots only. We have more than 200 volunteers and 7000 donors now and most have never been involved in a campaign before. This is my biggest accomplishment as a candidate. My team is first class and unmatched.
I have always said “It’s not good enough to win. The WAY we win matters just as much!” To that end, our campaign has been aggressive, but not dirty. We hold our opponents accountable for their words and actions, but we don’t attack them personally. In the end, we are all Americans. For me, it is imperative that we win with dignity. I seek to represent all 714,000 residents in this great District, not just the people who vote for me.
You may not always agree with my position on issues, but you will always understand why I feel the way I feel (and in Congress, why I will vote the way I vote). I will always provide my rationale and the facts and data that I believe support my position. I think most Americans just want someone with a spine. We will all disagree on things, but we should be led by people who are willing to have meaningful debates on issues with supporting facts and data. I respect those who do, and I believe most Americans do too.
The situation with Katie Hill in October of 2019 obviously changed the dynamics of this race. I am the only person in the race now though that was willing to run against her from the start. In fact, I was looking forward to taking her on as I believed our District was ready for change. In the end though, her decision to resign was the right thing to do.
The pictures below will tell the story better than my words here…but it’s been an incredible journey and I look forward to transitioning from “candidate” to “Representative” over the course of the next few months!