Alumni, former students look to clinch spots in Congress

Media Credit: File Photo by Graeme Sloan | Contributing Photo Editor.

Ten alumni or former students are vying for seats in Congress in this year's midterm elections.

Ten alumni or former students will appear on the ballot Tuesday as they vie for seats in both chambers of Congress.

The candidates face a wide variety of competitors, with one looking to unseat the majority leader of the House of Representatives, while another faces off against a former soap opera actor. They also carry a range of life experiences with them to the polls – like Gilbert Cisneros, who won a $266 million MegaMillions jackpot eight years ago, and Morgan Murtaugh, who is the youngest woman running for Congress this year.

The Hatchet took a look at all the races where alumni and former students are running for a seat in this year’s midterm election. Incumbents are denoted with an asterisk, and all chances of winning were pulled from FiveThirtyEight’s election trackers Sunday night.

Gilbert Cisneros

Democrat

Gilbert Cisneros
Party: Democrat
Running for: Representative for California’s 39th District
Opponent: California State Assemblywoman Young Kim (R)
Graduated from GW in: 1994
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in political science
Chance of winning: 5 in 9
Why he’s running: “One of the reasons I am running for Congress is to help more students obtain a quality education such as the one that I received at GW. I believe that increasing investment in education should be a priority for our government, and that is what I will fight for if I am elected to serve in Congress.”

Tatiana Matta

Democrat

Tatiana Matta
Party: Democrat
Running for: Representative for California’s 23rd District
Opponent: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.*
Graduated from GW in: 2018
Degree: Master of Arts in strategic public relations
Chance of winning: <1 in 100
Why she’s running: “I will work across the aisle to create an environment where education thrives, crime decreases and no one is left behind. I will fight for affordable housing, criminal justice reform, equal pay, paid family leave and access to childcare for working families. I’m thankful to GW for empowering a mother, military spouse, nonprofit leader, school board member and community leader to dream big!”

Neal Dunn

Republican

Neal Dunn*
Party: Republican
Running for: Representative for Florida’s 2nd District
Opponent: Former Leon County Commissioner Bob Rackleff (D)
Graduated from GW in: 1979
Degree: Doctor of medicine
Chance of winning: >99 in 100
Why he’s running: Dunn, who did not return a request for comment, is a veteran whose platform for re-election includes working to repeal the Affordable Care Act, cut federal spending and rebuild the military.

Gretchen Driskell

Democrat

Gretchen Driskell
Party: Democrat
Running for: Representative for Michigan’s 7th District
Opponent: Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich.*
Graduated from GW in: 1987
Degree: Master of Business Administration
Chance of winning: 2 in 5
Why she’s running: Driskell, who did not return a request for comment, boasts a platform highlighting a fight to reduce veteran homelessness, create affordable health care, keep jobs in Michigan and make higher education more accessible.

Julia Brownley

Democrat

Julia Brownley*
Party: Democrat
Running for: Representative for California’s 26th District
Opponent: Former soap opera actor and model Antonio Sabato Jr. (R)
Graduated from GW in: 1975
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in political science
Chance of winning: >99 in 100
Why she’s running: “I’m running for Congress because there is so much to do to make sure that working families, students, and seniors have a shot at the American Dream. We have to address income and wealth inequality, the rising costs of healthcare, the shockingly high rate of student loan debt, and making sure Medicare and Social Security are there for today’s and tomorrow’s seniors.”

Susan Wild

Democrat

Susan Wild
Party: Democrat
Running for: Representative for Pennsylvania’s 7th District
Opponent: Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Lehigh County Marty Nothstein (R)
Graduated from GW in: 1982
Degree: Juris Doctor
Chance of winning: 19 in 20
Why she’s running: “For the first time ever, the next generation is going to be worse off than their parents were. They are burdened with mounting student loan debt, climate change that is real and will have a lasting impact on our planet, and tremendous partisan gridlock in Washington that is not serving the people the way government is supposed to. I got into this race because I felt that my skills developed as an attorney could be best put to use working to correct these problems.”

Morgan Murtaugh

Republican

Morgan Murtaugh
Party: Republican
Running for: Representative for California’s 53rd District
Opponent: Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif.*
Graduated from GW in: 2015
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in political communication
Chance of winning: <1 in 100
Why she’s running: “Morgan is running for office because she’s tired of the hate and vitriol coming from our leadership and the inability to compromise. She’s running because she believes it’s time for the next generation of leadership to step up and take control of our future,” Murtaugh’s campaign manager, Elissa Roberson, said in an email.

Darren Soto

Democrat

Darren Soto*
Party: Democrat
Running for: Representative for Florida’s 9th District
Opponent: U.S. Navy veteran Wayne Liebnitzky (R)
Graduated from GW in: 2004
Degree: Juris Doctor
Chance of winning: 59 in 60
Why he’s running: “I first ran to stand up for hard-working central Florida families and ensure justice and equality for all Americans. If re-elected, I will fight to expand access to quality health care and education, for higher paying jobs for the district, common sense gun-safety reform, a cleaner environment, civil rights for all Americans and more welcoming immigration policies.”

Elizabeth Warren

Democrat

Elizabeth Warren*
Party: Democrat
Running For: Senator for Massachusetts
Opponent: State Representative for the 7th Plymouth District Geoff Diehl (R)
Attended GW in: 1966-68
Degree pursued: Bachelor of Science in speech pathology
Chance of Winning: >99 in 100
Why she’s running: Warren, who did not respond to a request for comment, is one of President Donald Trump’s biggest critics, and is running to be re-elected on a progressive platform of affordable health care, reforming gun laws and equality.

William Timmons

Republican

William Timmons
Party: Republican
Running For: Representative for South Carolina’s 4th District
Opponent: Former higher education administrator Brandon Brown (D)
Graduated from GW in: 2006
Degree pursued: Bachelor of Arts in international affairs and political science
Chance of Winning: >99 in 100
Why he’s running: Timmons, who did not immediately return a request for comment, is running on a conservative agenda of ending a “broken immigration system,” supporting the Second Amendment and pushing an anti-abortion agenda.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that there are nine alumni and former students running for seats in Congress. There are 10. Information about William Timmons, an alumnus running for a seat in the House of Representatives, was added to this article. We regret this error.

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