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Combat veteran Jon Keyser has officially entered the race for the U.S. Senate seat in Colorado, staking out his position as the candidate most equipped to tackle national security issues.
Keyser told the Denver Post that the nuclear deal with Iran was a major reason for his decision to run, calling Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet’s foreign policy and his vote for the deal “dangerous.” Iran, which has already violated the agreement by conducting a series of ballistic missile tests, could receive $100 billion in sanction relief as early as this month as a result of the deal.
“I think 2016 will be an absolutely pivotal year for our nation and I'm running against Michael Bennet because I think he's dangerous,” he said. “He doesn't understand the enemies that we face.”
In a statement announcing his candidacy, Keyser, 34, focused on the economy and national security.
“I’m running for the United States Senate to keep Colorado families safe from the growing threats we face across the world and to bring a new generation of economic opportunity to Coloradans after years of stagnation,” Keyser said. “Michael Bennet’s support for the disastrous Iran deal and his failure to stand up to his own party on national security issues has not only made Colorado less safe but has also emboldened America’s enemies. I’ve fought the enemy and I know from experience how to keep our families safe and secure.”
“As Colorado’s next Senator, I will always put Colorado first and continually work for dynamic solutions to the many challenges our country faces,” Keyser said.
Keyser strongly hinted at a run in December. He joins a crowded Republican field of candidates including state Sen. Tim Neville and Robert Blaha, a businessman who self-funded a previous campaign for a U.S. House seat but lost by 24 points.
Keyser currently serves in the Colorado state house and said he would resign his seat on Jan. 25. He is also resigning his position at the law firm Hogan Lovells.
A Major in the Air Force Reserve, Keyser was awarded the Bronze Star and completed two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Keyser’s campaign website describes him as a combat veteran, fiscal conservative, and a “roughneck,” for when he worked on an oil rig in the Western Slope to pay for law school.
The campaign is touting Keyser’s blue-collar roots as the son of a carpenter and hotel maid and said he was the first member of his family to obtain a college degree.