He may be eyeing a second run at Rhode Island’s 1st district, but John Loughlin has another mission to complete before he can launch a Congressional campaign.
The 52-year-old former Republican state Representative, having retired from the Army Reserves in 2004, has been called to serve another tour in Iraq under the rank of lieutenant colonel. Loughlin is expected to serve with the public affairs staff in Baghdad in the near future.
The news, first reported by the Rhode Island news site GoLocalProv, could improve Loughlin’s chances in a rematch against freshman Rep. David Cicilline (D), although Republicans concede that the seat in the heart of the deep-blue Ocean State is a long shot at best. Loughlin lost by 6 points in 2010.
He has not ruled out a second run. And while the exact timing of the deployment is unclear, Loughlin will likely return to the United States by the end of the year.
“Things have changed a bit since I retired in 2004, but one thing has not changed, and that’s the bravery, fidelity and quality of America’s men and women in uniform,” Loughlin told Roll Call via email. “It’s one thing for a Congressman to fly in, and get a one or two day VIP tour of Camp Victory, but I will be living the mission in Iraq. I think, it will provide a unique perspective on the mission, and the reasons for the application on military force in the war on terror.”
Recent polling shows Cicilline’s popularity has been rocked by a rash of negative headlines about his fiscal management of the city of Providence, where he previously served as mayor. The capital has been plagued by financial problems since last fall, although Cicilline once referred to Providence’s fiscal health as “excellent” while on the campaign trail.
“We know how he lied to the media about the true financial condition of the city, what we don’t know, but can guess, are what lies were told before groups of seniors and others,” Loughlin told Roll Call, sounding very much like a candidate. “I don’t know how anyone could ever believe anything David Cicilline has to say, ever again.”
Nicole Kayner, a spokeswoman for the Cicilline campaign, dismissed the criticism.
“John Loughlin is trying to rehash an election that’s already been decided,” she said. “David understands that Rhode Island families sent him to Congress to protect Social Security and Medicare and to fight to create jobs instead of giving tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. That’s why he was sent to Washington in the first place.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.