Among the more determined of the five Republicans competing for the chance to take on U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania in the fall is Bucks County businessman David Christian.
Christian, 62, is a decorated Vietnam veteran who ran for Congress twice in the 1980s. He’s an anti-abortion conservative, but his message is as much about personal experience as policy.
“My life has been one of challenges, and I see this as a great challenge, to run for the United States Senate,” he said in a recent debate in Philadelphia. (You can hear Christian at the debate by playing the audio above.)
“As a young man, I was shot in the back, across both legs. I was machine-gunned across the chest. I was stabbed in the left arm. I had 40 percent of my body burned with napalm,” Christian continued. “I went from an electric wheel chair, to a regular wheel chair, to crutches, to a cane, to running a New York marathon. And I completed it.”
That drew applause from those in the audience.
Christian worked doing veterans outreach in Washington in the 1970s, but was fired after he publicly challenged President Jimmy Carter over funding for veterans programs. He likes to talk a lot about the next president he worked for.
“I’m a Ronald Reagan Republican. I got to work for Ronald Reagan. He used to hit me on the leg and say, ‘Kid, we’re going to do this, kid, we’re going to stay the course,'” Christian said in the debate.
“No one calls me ‘kid’ anymore, I can tell you that,” he joked.
Christian lacks the money or name recognition to rival three candidates considered front runners for the GOP nomination — Tom Smith, Steve Welch and Sam Rohrer. Marc Scaringi is also in the running, But Christian noted he’s favored by an obscure committee registered under the name, “A Superpac,” which has sent a few mail pieces attacking Christian’s rivals.