Dr. Ronny Jackson, a retired Navy flag officer who dropped out of the running to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs amid allegations of wrongdoing, has picked up a congressional seat representing Texas in the state’s right-leaning 13th District.
Jackson, who served as President Donald Trump’s physician, beat Josh Winegarner in a Republican runoff election to fill Rep. Mac Thornberry’s House seat. Thornberry, another Texas GOP lawmaker and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, announced his retirement last year.
Jackson has touted his relationship with the president, who endorsed him, during his campaign. His win comes about two years after allegations of drinking on the job and other bad conduct while serving in uniform.
“I’m honored to be elected as the next representative for Texas’ 13th Congressional District,” Jackson tweeted Tuesday night. “I’ll NEVER back down to the liberal mobs, and I’ll be the strong conservative leader that you DESERVE. I promise I’ll make you proud! Thank you #TX13!”
Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, said Jackson’s win is “a clear testament to the power and value of President Trump’s endorsement and support,” The New York Times reported.
This is Jackson’s first run for office. Winegarner, his Republican opponent in the runoff race, is a lobbyist and agriculture expert who was backed by Thornberry.
“We see only one candidate who is both running for the right reasons and can also be effective from day one,” Thornberry said last month.
Jackson was Trump’s pick to replace Dr. David Shulkin as the head of the VA, but his nomination was derailed by the allegations of misconduct. Jackson later withdrew from consideration and retired after 25 years of service.
Jackson said he’s a fiscal conservative who supports protected borders and the Second Amendment. He also said he will aggressively support veterans, ensuring they get access to benefits and services they earned, and will fight for the U.S. to maintain its military dominance.
“We have the greatest, strongest, and most capable military on the planet,” his campaign website states. “This fact alone serves as powerful deterrence to those who would do us harm. We must support our military.”
Jackson also says he’ll be the only freshman congressman who will have access to the Oval Office to appeal directly to Trump for the district, the Texas Tribune reported.
Trump has tweeted that his former doctor is “Strong on Crime, the Border and Agriculture — and he loves our Vets!”
“Ronny has my Complete and Total Endorsement! Vote for Ronny!” Trump said.
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