Rep. Seth Moulton at a rally in Boston in March 2017. Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Editor's note: Moulton dropped out of contention for the Democratic presidential nomination on Aug. 23, 2019. Below is our original article on his candidacy.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), a former Marine and Iraq War veteran, wants to stand out in the crowded 2020 race with his focus on national security, foreign policy and defense. However, he lacks name recognition nationally — a huge detriment in a massive Democratic field.
Key facts about Seth Moulton
- Current position: U.S. Representative for Massachusetts' 6th congressional district since 2015, member of the House Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
- Age: 40
- Born: Salem, Mass.
- Undergraduate: Harvard University
- Date candidacy announced: April 22, 2019
- % of votes in line with Trump, per FiveThirtyEight: 18.3%
- Previous roles: Four tours with the Marine Corps during the Iraq War, managing director of transportation firm Texas Central Railway, co-founded now-defunct Eastern Healthcare Partners
Seth Moulton's stance on key issues
- National security: "I recognize that the polling doesn’t have national security as a top issue right now, but it’s not just the right thing to do for the country with this reckless commander in chief — it's also a political opportunity for Democrats because the Republicans have given us an unbelievable opening with Donald Trump in the Oval Office," he said in an interview with Defense One.
- Defense: "You won't find a stronger advocate for having very clear missions and an end-game that troops know they can achieve to get home," he told Defense One. "But you also won't find a stronger advocate for making clear to the rest of the world that America is a strong country and we will stand up for our national interests and our allies around the globe."
- Taxes: "We need a new tax code in this country. And it shouldn't put the rich and powerful ahead of the rest of us," he tweeted in response to an article on Trump's 2017 tax bill.
- Abortion: He supports the public funding of abortions and the right for women to terminate pregnancy for health reasons. He opposes the "Born-Alive" bill.
- Gun control: He supports universal background checks for gun buyers. "Congress has the ability and authority to eliminate the civilian sale of weapons of war. We have before, and we should again," his website reads. He has tweeted support for the March For Our Lives movement.
- Renewable energy: He signed a 2016 initiative for the U.S. to use 50% clean and carbon-free electricity by 2030.
- Criminal justice: Supports legalizing marijuana, but does not believe incarcerated people should be able to vote.
- Mental health: Unveiled a military mental health plan that includes required check-ups for active-duty military members and veterans and Veterans Affairs funding for alternative treatments, including cannabis and mindfulness therapies.
Key criticisms of Seth Moulton
- Notoriety: Moulton is less nationally known than many other candidates in the Democratic field, but he did gain headlines for championing the campaign to remove Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House during the 2018 midterms.
1 fun thing about Seth Moulton
- He did not publicly or privately acknowledge — even to his parents — that he won the Bronze Star medal for valor and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal for valor until the Boston Globe investigated.