The Fighting Dems is a nickname given to more than 60 military veterans who ran for Congress as Democrats in the United States' 2006 congressional elections. Five of these candidates were elected to the House of Representatives and one was elected to the Senate. The term Fighting Dem can be applied to all non-incumbent military veterans running for Congress in 2006 as Democrats.
Veterans for a Secure America
On December 20, 2005, a group of Fighting Dems met in Washington, D.C. for a strategy session and voted on a name for their coalition: Veterans for a Secure America. On February 8, 2006, nearly 40 of them met again in Washington to gather outside of the U.S. Capitol. The event was led by former Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, a Vietnam veteran who with the rest of the veterans chartered the Veterans for a Secure America (VSA). To date the VSA is the only organized group of Fighting Dems though not all Fighting Dems are part of the VSA.
On October 1, 2006, Army Major and congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth made the weekly Democratic radio address blasting George W. Bush saying "Instead of a plan or a strategy, we get shallow slogans like 'mission accomplished' and 'stay the course,'" but "Those slogans are calculated to win an election. But they won't help us accomplish our mission in Iraq" She explained that the United States needs "a Congress that will ask the tough questions and work together for solutions rather than attacking the patriotism of those who disagree". Further she said, "It is time to encourage Iraqi leaders to take control of their own country and make the tough choices that will stop the civil war and stabilize the country."
List of Fighting Dems
Candidates, followed by state abbreviation and district number
- Woodrow Anderson III, AR-03. Primary winner.
- Ted Ankrum, TX-10. Primary winner.
- Dick Auman, IL-16. Primary winner.
- Phil Avillo, PA-19. Primary winner.
- Lee Ballenger, SC-03 
- Rick Bolanos, TX-23. Primary winner.
- Bob Bowman, FL-15. Primary winner.
- Jim Brandt, CA-46. Primary winner.
- Charles Brown, CA-04. Primary winner.
- Dave Bruderly, FL-06 Primary winner.
- Duane Burghard MO-09. Primary winner.
- Chris Carney, PA-10. General election winner
- Jack Chagnon, FL-07. Primary winner.
- John Courage, TX-21. Primary winner.
- Jack Davis NY-26. Unopposed Primary 
- Dan Dodd, TX-03. Primary winner.
- Andrew Duck, MD-06. Primary winner.
- Tammy Duckworth, IL-06. Primary winner.
- Bill Durston, CA-03. Primary winner.
- Jay Fawcett, CO-05. Primary winner.
- William Griffith, SC-04. Primary winner.
- David Harris, TX-06. Primary winner.
- Tom Hayhurst, IN-03. Primary winner.
- Doctor Robert J. Johnson, NY-23 Unopposed Primary
- John Laesch, IL-14. Primary winner.
- Jim Marcinkowski, MI-08. Primary winner.
- Eric Massa, NY-29 Unopposed Primary and in 2008 was elected to Congress.
- Patrick Murphy, PA-08. General election winner
- Jim Nelson, GA-01. Primary winner.
- Dave Patlak, FL-18th. Primary winner.
- John Rinaldi, CA-52. Primary winner.
- Joe Roberts, FL-1. Primary winner.
- Doctor Arjinderpal Sekhon CA-02. Primary winner.
- Joe Sestak, PA-07. General election winner.
- Rich Sexton, NJ-03. Primary winner.
- Bob Shamansky, OH-12. Primary winner.
- Richard Siferd, OH-04. Primary winner.
- Dennis Spivack, DE-01. Primary winner.
- Charlie Thompson, TX-05. Primary winner.
- Tim Walz, MN-01 General election winner
- Steve Waterworth IL-18. Primary winner.
- Roger Waun, TX-13. Primary winner.
- Mike Weaver, KY-02. Primary winner.
- Craig Weber, NC-03. Primary winner.
- George D. Weber (MO-02) website. Primary winner.
- Al Weed, VA-05 See: Virginia U.S. House election, 2006
- Bill Winter, CO-06. Primary winner.
- Jim Webb, Decorated Vietnam War Combat Veteran, Marine, and former Secretary of the Navy who won the Virginia senate race.
- Jack Carter, Navy Vietnam War Veteran, ran unsuccessfully for Senate in Nevada. Primary winner.
let's hear it for our candidates all across the country -- our fighting Dems, our vets who are running!...All across the board these candidates have excellent credentials, great ideals, and they are, again, fighters for the future. Let's hear it for our candidates!"
The challengers in the House who managed to defeat their incumbents were Chris Carney (PA-10), Patrick Murphy (PA-08), Joe Sestak (PA-07), and Tim Walz (MN-01). Additionally, Phil Hare (IL-17) was elected to succeed fellow Democrat Lane Evans. In the Senate, Jim Webb (VA) was elected. A post-election analysis revealed that while the Democratic veteran candidates were the most salient in 2006, Republican veteran candidates enjoyed higher vote shares that year on average.
- Conrad, Dennis (2006-10-01). "Candidate-veteran blasts Bush on Iraq". Associated Press. Retrieved 2006-10-01.[dead link]
- "Welcome to www.johnchagnon.com! - Статьи". Johnchagnon2006.com. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- [dead link]
- "OpenSecrets". OpenSecrets. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- "The Swamp - Chicago Tribune - Blogs". Newsblogs.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- Teigen, Jeremy (2008). "Invoking Military Credentials in Congressional Elections 2000-2006," in Inside Defense: Understanding the U.S. Military in the 21st Century by D. Reveron & J. Stein (ISBN 0-230-60260-6).
- DNC Fighting Dems website
- Veterans for a Secure America — main site
- Daily Kos articles
- Times-Union story
- Securing America
- VetPAC political action committee
- Taking the Hill from the Democratic Party
- Profiles of some "Fighting Dems" — from the Air America Site
- Oxford Press (Ohio) article
- named on tv