PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Mike O’Brien, a retired U.S. Marine Corps veteran and TOPGUN F-35 Stealth Fighter Pilot has launched a campaign for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district.
O’Brien, who’s running as a Democrat, is challenging six-term incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Perry.
“I spent the last 20 years defending democracy overseas. But we need more of that. Right here at home, right now. Congressman Scott Perry and his far-right gang of insurrectionists are a threat to democracy and a threat to our freedoms,” O’Brien said in a video posted to X, formerly Twitter, announcing his campaign.
O’Brien continues saying this is why he has decided to run.
“That’s why I’m running for Congress right here in my home state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania families need a fighter on their side who listens to them, who respects them, who cares more about them than about winning partisan food fights,” he said.
O’Brien is the third Democratic candidate to announce a 2024 run for Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district seat. He joins the district’s 2022 Democratic nominee Shamaine Daniels and Rick Coplen who are also vying for the position.
According to his campaign website, O’Brien retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel in August 2023. He graduated from the Naval Academy and from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
“This isn’t about Democrat versus Republican. It’s about American versus un-American. It’s about regular people versus Washington extremists like Scott Perry. It’s going to take all of us to save our democracy, so join me and let’s do this together,” he said in the video.
O’Brien has been married to his wife Courtney, who is currently an active-duty Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, for 18 years and the couple has two children. However, some are questioning his residency.
“He’s kind of parachuted, no pun intended, into the district,” said Republican political consultant Christopher Nicholas. “He registered to vote here in April. So he’s really only been a resident for a couple months.”
O’Brien grew up outside Philadelphia and now has an apartment in Harrisburg. His wife is finishing up her Navy service and still lives in San Diego with their children.
Perry, a retired U.S. Army National Guard Brigadier General, has served in Congress since 2013 and currently serves as Chair of the House Freedom Caucus.
Matt Beynon, a spokesman for Perry’s re-election campaign, says Perry is “putting his record of service and accomplishment before the voters next November, and he is confident they will again return him to Congress.”
“There’s at least a three way and potentially a four way Democratic primary,” says Nicholas. “So obviously, they think there’s something in the water here that remains to be seen.”
Challenging the 2020 election, heading the conservative Freedom Caucus and possibly pushing the government toward a shutdown over spending, Democrats see Perry as way too extreme. Voters, thus far, have disagreed. O’Brien knows it’s an uphill fight, but fighting is what he does.
“I’m not a politician,” says O’Brien. “I’m a leader, quite frankly. We don’t need we don’t need more politicians in Washington. We need leaders.”