Dan Crenshaw

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    U.S. House of Representatives, Texas’s Second Congressional District

Dan Crenshaw wears his service to his country on his face. The former Navy SEAL, often heralded as the future of the Republican Party, is well known for the black eye patch he dons, the result of an eye injury sustained from an IED blast during his third deployment in Afghanistan in 2012. Shortly after returning from service, Crenshaw attended the Harvard Kennedy School where he earned a master’s in public policy and caught the attention of congressman Pete Sessions and national security analyst John Noonan. They encouraged him to run for Congress in his home state of Texas. He had no real political experience, and no money to launch a campaign in what was gearing up to be a competitive district, but he had something else: an innate social media type of savvy that appealed to voters and drew comparisons to another young political star, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “We have to make conservatism cool and exciting again,” he told Politico during his run. “We have to bring back that Reagan optimism.” He went on to win his primary and then the general election by seven points. But, like many politicians, it was a ribbing on Saturday Night Live that really propelled Crenshaw onto the national stage. After cast member Pete Davidson made fun of his appearance and war injuries, Crenshaw accepted an apology and appeared on the program later that month.