A political action committee in support of incumbent Arkansas Sen. John Boozman sent out a mailer claiming that his opponent, former National Football League player and United States Army officer Jake Bequette, lied about details regarding his military service.
RedState has determined that the claims made in the mailer are strongly misleading and distort the truth.
The mailer sent out by the Heartland Resurgence PAC said that Bequette both lied about being an Army Ranger and falsely claimed that he “joined the Army 2 years before he actually did.” It also refers to the candidate as “Fake Jake Bequette.”
On the flip side of the mailer, it promotes Boozman, touts his endorsement by former President Donald Trump, and says that he is the “son of an Air Force Master Sergeant,” “Helping Veterans find good paying jobs in their post military career,” and a “member of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee.”
In terms of Bequette lying about being an Army Ranger, his campaign sent RedState the documents including him being officially awarded his Ranger tab for successfully completing training:
A photo of him at Ranger school graduation in 2018:
And him actually receiving the tab itself:
Still, it’s heavily debated in military circles if finishing training actually makes someone a Ranger, or if only serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment does, but Alex Hollings explained for Sandboxx in 2021 that it’s not truly significant:
Rangers truly do lead the way, and on this one, I’m inclined to follow in the footsteps of a number of prominent Rangers, Murphy included, in saying that it ultimately really doesn’t matter. While some may see “Tabbed” Rangers as imposters or “Scrolled” Rangers as the only rightful heir to the Ranger namesake, the debate itself really sort of loses sight of what each of these (admittedly separate) accomplishments really mean.
Graduating from Ranger School and making it in the 75th Ranger Regiment are both incredible accomplishments that any service member should be proud of. The work that goes into earning a Tab or a Scroll are both worthy of the respect of those of us sitting on the sidelines in other branches of service or the civilian sector. The debate is certain to rage on, and many on both sides of it will raise valid points that speak to their own experiences and pride… but from the outside looking in, it may be best to just step aside and let the guys and gals wearing tabs and scrolls duke it out with one another, if they’re so inclined.
So, unless someone is a hardline believer in what actually makes somebody a Ranger, the mailer is distorting the facts in an attempt to discredit Bequette’s military background.
“It’s a disgusting smear of my military service and I think it shows how desperate Senator Boozman is trying to deflect from his own record right before election day,” Bequette said.
“It’s an absolute disgrace to see a Republican U.S. senator and his surrogates use the same tactics that the radical left has used in the past to attack conservative veterans,” he later added.
When it comes to Bequette allegedly lying about what years he actually served, a representative for the campaign, Jesse Ranney, claimed that this was the result of a typo on the campaign website that was fixed a few days later. The previous digital firm that worked for the campaign mixed up the year he joined the Army with the year he won the Super Bowl, Ranney claims.
Heartland Resurgence does not have any visible contact information online, but RedState reached out to a top donor’s team about the mailer. The donor declined to comment.
Boozman’s campaign was also contacted via phone and email, but they did not respond in time for publication for comment.
The Arkansas Republican primary election is this coming Tuesday, May 24. If none of the primary candidates hit 50 percent, there will be a runoff election to determine who will be the nominee.
A Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College poll from earlier this month showed Boozman at 45 percent in the primary polls, with Bequette at 19 percent, KUAR reported. 18 percent of voters are still undecided, and there are other candidates in the race, but if the senator can’t make 50 percent, he’ll likely be facing off with Bequette.
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