A retired Navy SEAL who lost his right eye in combat is waging a battle for the U.S. House seat of retiring Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas.
While serving during his third combat tour in June 2012, Dan Crenshaw encountered an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan’s deadly Helmand province that blew out his right eye and severely damaged his left.
Although doctors said that Crenshaw would never see again, after undergoing several surgeries and receiving specialized contact lenses, he regained sight in his left eye. Crenshaw was also fitted with a glass eye, over which he wears his signature eye patch. Four months later, he returned to the shooting range in Mississippi, where he trained to rejoin his teammates.
Prior to taking a medical retirement in 2016, Crenshaw served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and held leadership posts in Bahrain and South Korea, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
Regarding his decision to run for Congress, Crenshaw said, “What makes me get up in the morning is knowing I’m doing something for the country, and I was not ready to quit that. I think this is why I’m driven to Congress now, because it’s another path I can take to make a positive impact on people’s lives and serve in a way that is meaningful and push for values that I believe in.”
Crenshaw is among nine candidates competing in Texas’s March 9 Republican primary to succeed Poe, who represents the state’s 2nd congressional district. Three military veterans are vying for the seat, including Crenshaw, retired Army 2nd Lt. Jonny Havens, who deployed twice to Iraq, and Jon Spiers, who served as a surgeon in the Army Reserves.
Crenshaw believes that he stands apart from his competitors as a result of his recent deployments to the Middle East and South Korea, which allow him unique insight into pressing national security challenges such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea, and the ongoing threat of Islamic terrorism.
North Korea is the most critical threat to the United States, according to Crenshaw, who praised President Donald Trump’s strong-arm approach to Kim Jong Un’s regime.
“We have to jolt the system a little bit,” Crenshaw said. “As crazy as the rhetoric sounds to a lot of people, [Trump] has to provide that credible threat in order to bring the Chinese onboard to pressure North Korea and really make some changes with the regime’s behavior.”
Crenshaw, who holds a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, said that Americans need protection from foreign threats, high taxes, overregulation, and government infringement on freedoms such as the right to bear arms.
“The swamp needs credibility,” he said. “Our vision should be one of optimism, one of limited government, where we first ask what we can do for our community and our country and not the other way around. That’s the true essence of conservatism.”