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Tennessean: National veterans group backs Democrat James Mackler’s Tennessee US Senate bid

A progressive political action committee aimed at helping veterans nationwide has endorsed Democrat James Mackler’s U.S. Senate campaign.

VoteVets, which was formed by Iraq War veterans in 2006, announced the endorsement Monday, calling Mackler an exceptional American.

Noting how Mackler closed his law practice to join the U.S. Army after 9/11, Jon Soltz, the PAC’s chair, said the candidate’s “knowledge of the dangers we face from terrorism, and regimes that would do us harm, mean that he can go into the Senate with the knowledge and credibility to keep America safe, and our troops well taken care of.”

After joining the 101st Airborne Division, Mackler spent three years as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot in Iraq. Once his service ended, he transferred to the Judge Advocate General Corps and served as a military prosecutor.

Mackler is the lone Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat long-held by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who announced last year he was not seeking reelection.

Mackler previously entered Tennessee’s 2018 U.S. Senate race before halting his campaign after former Gov. Phil Bredesen launched his own bid. Bredesen, who lost to U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, has endorsed Mackler in his current bid.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty and orthopedic trauma surgeon Manny Sethi are the major candidates seeking the Republican nomination.

In recent years, VoteVets has played a role in political campaigns across the country. Most recently, the group has poured money into running ads in a special election in North Carolina.

The PAC did not indicate whether it would be supporting Mackler’s efforts by similarly buying TV ads in the lead up to next year’s election.

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