Topeka Capital Journal:
Army veteran and Iditarod racer joins contest for 2nd District Congressional seat
November 7, 2017
Army veteran, Iditarod dog racer and Mt. Everest climber Steve Watkins will add “congressional candidate” to his list of challenges.
Watkins said Tuesday he is running as a Republican for the U.S. House seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, served in the Army and holds master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
Watkins said his desire to run for Congress stems from his upbringing in Topeka and the values his parents taught him. He said he wants to bring conservative Kansas values and leadership to Congress.
“They instilled the values of hard work, service to the country and integrity — even at a young age,” Watkins said.
Watkins’ campaign slogan, “Kansans can do anything,” fits with his history as an adventurer. He attempted to become the first person to race in the Iditarod and climb Mt. Everest, but was caught on the mountain in 2015 during an earthquake in Nepal that killed more than 8,500 people.
“This is a unifying and empowering message,” Watkins said. “It’s also an effort to push back to the so-called New England liberal elites, who see us as nothing more than a flyover state.”
Watkins is the third Army veteran vying for the Republican nomination for Jenkins’ seat. All three candidates have drawn on their military experience in their bids.
In the Republican primary, Watkins faces fellow Army veterans state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, of Leavenworth, and Rep. Kevin Jones, of Wellsville. Candidates also include Sen. Caryn Tyson, of Parker; Matt Bevens, of Topeka; and Vernon Fields, of Basehor. Former Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave dropped out of the race Tuesday.
The general election is likely to be competitive with former gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis running as a Democrat. He has an early fundraising lead and won the district in his failed gubernatorial bid.
Watkins said he favors building a border wall, passing Republicans’ tax cuts, opposing abortion, cutting regulations on businesses and repealing the Affordable Care Act. He said he thought the country’s gun laws could be better enforced to prevent gun violence and mass shootings like the one Sunday in which a gunman entered a Texas church and killed 26 people.
He said he supports of the Second Amendment but improving background checks would be worth discussion.
Via the Topeka Capital Journal