“Larry is recognized as a proven leader, teacher and problem solver who spent the last 30 years in U.S. Navy leadership positions, building coalitions on an international scale,” said the Republican Party of San Diego County, which said at least two-thirds of its central committee backed him.In 2012, Davis defeated Nick Popaditch, a decorated Marine gunnery sergeant, by nearly 23 percentage points in the heavily Democratic district taking in much of San Diego and extending east to El Cajon and south to Chula Vista east of Interstate 805.
As of April 4, the 53rd District had 370,987 registered voters — with Democrats leading Republicans 41.5 percent to 26.8 percent, and 26.2 percent with no party preference, according to the county Registrar of Voters Office.
Wilske, a political novice, announced his run for Congress in late January at the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in La Jolla, which is in the 52nd District represented by Democrat Scott Peters.
A retired command master chief of SEAL Team Seven, Wilske was hailed by Tony Krvaric, local GOP chairman.
“Larry’s patriotic spirit and focus on unity are exactly what America needs right now,” Krvaric said. His inclusive, constitutionalist approach celebrates all the things that make our country great: freedom, diversity and individual liberties. Larry is a man of great character and the right kind of leader to represent the American people.”
Wilske is a lifelong San Diegan who grew up in the communities of the 53rd district, including Linda Vista, Mission Hills and Serra Mesa.
He served on SEAL Teams SDV-1, Three and Seven during his 30-year Navy career and is the recipient of the Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism in action, awarded for a tour of duty in which he served as operations chief of a task force that deployed to Afghanistan immediately following the 9/11 attacks.
He retired from the military in 2013, and he and his wife live in Midtown, the parents of four daughters. He has two grandchildren.
“I’m honored to have received the endorsement of the Republican Party of San Diego County,” Wilske said. “My commitment to America and my fellow San Diegans is stronger than ever. When I joined the military 30 years ago, I took an oath to protect and defend all Americans. I remain committed to this oath and representing every American in Congress.
“At the end of the day, it is not about party — it is about country, people and the unity needed to keep us strong. Let’s move forward together!”
Wilske isn’t the first Navy SEAL to run for Congress locally.
In 2008, retired SEAL Commander Michael Lumpkin, a Democrat, ran for an open seat in East County’s 52nd District, losing to Republican Duncan D. Hunter, who won the seat held for many years by his father, Duncan Lee Hunter.
Lumpkin now serves as assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict.
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