Jake Bequette wants to go from Super Bowl winner to US senator.
The former New England Patriot and US Army veteran announced Monday he will challenge two-term incumbent Sen. John Boozman for the Republican nomination in his home state of Arkansas next year.
“What’s happening in Washington these days is a disgrace,” Bequette said in a video announcing his candidacy. “Democrats have been taken over by radical socialists, and too many Republicans just go along to get along.”
“I’m a God-fearing Christian conservative who is 100 percent pro-life and pro-police,” Bequette added, “and I will never apologize for being against illegal immigration.”
The video also touts Bequette’s playing career at the University of Arkansas, where he was an all-SEC defensive lineman, and describes him with the tagline “Patriot. Veteran. Razorback.”
Bequette is the third Republican to formally challenge Boozman, also a former Razorback football player, in the solidly Republican state. Another candidate is Jan Morgan, a Hot Springs gun range owner who unsuccessfully ran against Gov. Asa Hutchinson in the 2018 GOP primary.
Any challenge to Boozman faces an uphill climb. The incumbent has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, his Senate colleague Tom Cotton, and former White House press secretary-turned-gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In April, Boozman reported having more than $1.1 million in the bank for his reelection bid. In 2016, Boozman easily defeated businessman Curtis Coleman by 53 percentage points in the Republican primary.
“He’s been in Washington for over 20 years. He’s going on his third decade in Washington, in the swamp,” Bequette told The Associated Press of Boozman, who was first elected to Congress in 2000 and won his Senate seat in 2010. “I just think it’s time for a change, it’s time for someone new.”
“John Boozman is a relentless, effective fighter for Arkansans,” Boozman campaign spokeswoman Toni-Marie Higgins told AP in an email. “John looks forward to sharing his strong, conservative record and continuing to serve the people of Arkansas.”
Bequette, 32, was drafted by New England in the third round of the 2012 Draft. He played in a total of eight games for the Patriots over two seasons and was released prior to the 2014 season. Bequette was signed to the team’s practice squad and received a Super Bowl ring when New England defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX.
Bequette was released with an injury settlement prior to the 2015 season and volunteered for the Army. He was deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division after graduating from Ranger School.
With Post wires