Below is the text of a press release I issued today.
Democratic U.S. House candidate Doug Tudor today publically called on fellow candidate Randy Edwards to withdraw from the race for the open seat in Florida’s 12th Congressional District.
Tudor claimed, “By actively campaigning, speaking to groups, and requesting monetary contributions to his campaign, Major Edwards is in clear violation of Department of Defense Directives regarding political activities by members of the Armed Forces,”
Over the course of the past week, Edwards addressed various gatherings of Democrats. He did so at the Florida Democratic Party’s annual conference in Orlando this past weekend, as well as speaking to the Polk County Democratic Executive Committee in Bartow on Monday night and the East Hillsborough Democratic Club in Brandon on Tuesday night. At each event, Edwards declared that he is still on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, and he solicited monetary contributions to his campaign.
“Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of military regulations knows that having a strict ban on military members injecting themselves into partisan politics is vital to the sanctity of America’s civilian-led military,” said Tudor. He continued, “As a retired Navy Master Chief, it disturbed me to see an active-duty Marine officer trying to gain such an important office, who either didn’t know any better or deliberately violated the regulations.”
Edwards was granted a waiver signed by the Secretary of the Navy, which clearly stated that while he could file for candidacy, he was restricted from “open and active campaigning and all behind-the-scenes activities.”
Though Edwards’ infractions are punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 92, “Failure to Obey Order or Regulation,” Tudor stated, “I don’t want to see this junior officer punished. I just want to ensure that the political autonomy of our nation’s great military isn’t called into question, whether by intent or by ignorance.”
The regulation governing “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces” is Department of Defense Directive Number 1344.10 dated February 19, 2008. It is available on the web.