An Army Reserve chaplain who’s running for Congress in Arizona is now facing an investigation over a campaign ad in which he bashes the socialism of New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio Cortez while touting his service in uniform. The Army Times reports that Lt. Alex Stovall is being investigated by the Army Reserve Command is looking into Stovall’s recent ad announcing his candidacy and whether it violated Department of Defense policies about politicking while in uniform.
The advertisement featured several photos of Stovall in uniform and contained a text disclaimer intended to comply with strict Defense Department restrictions on political campaigns by reservists. But it might not have been enough.
Air Force Reserve chaplain Lt. Col. Doug Collins, then a congressman running for a Senate seat in Georgia, received a warning from Air Force officials about a similar issue in 2020.
Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said in a letter to Pentagon leadership Thursday that Stovall violated Uniform Code of Military Justice provisions prohibiting commissioned officers from saying “contemptuous words” against the president, vice president, Congress and other senior government officials.
Such provisions typically do not apply to off-duty reserve component troops, though.
“We are aware of the situation and are investigating,” Lt. Col. Simon Flake, an Army Reserve Command spokesman, told Army Times. “Due to the ongoing investigation we are unable to provide more information at this time.”
Stovall’s campaign manager says that the candidate, who serves as a chaplain in the Army Reserve’s 91st Training Division, followed all DoD and Reserve regulations in making the campaign ad, but there’s no word on when the investigation will be completed and Stovall will learn what, if any, sanctions he might face because of the ad, which you can check out below.
My name is Alex Stovall.
I am Republican.
I am 26.
I am a Chaplain.
I am pro-second Amendment.
I am America First.
Now, I am running for Congress to take on AOC.
Share this to spread the word! pic.twitter.com/p9XKF3AJYb
— Alex Stovall (@Alexforarizona) May 26, 2021
My biggest issue with Stovall’s ad is its focus on a congresswoman from New York City when Stovall’s running for a Congressional seat in Arizona. Given the leftward drift of political representation in Arizona, had I been running Stovall’s campaign I would have been looking for a bogeyman (or bogeywoman, as the case may be) a little closer to home than AOC.
Still, Ocasio Cortez is the biggest symbol of the socialist policies that have taken over much of the Democratic Party over the past couple of decades, so it’s not exactly a surprise that Stovall’s ad identifies her and her ideology as one of the primary reasons that Stovall’s running for office. It’s also silly to suggest, as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is doing, that Stovall the candidate can’t bash socialism or the mindset of the Squad because he also serves in the Army Reserves.
Fortunately for Stovall, any attempt by the Left to silence him is likely to have the opposite of its intended effect; elevating the 26-year old Army Reservist and Republican candidate and his message instead of marginalizing him. In fact, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has given Stovall another issue on the campaign trail. The Republican can now talk about his support for First Amendment freedoms along with his embrace of the Second Amendment, and that could end up giving him a boost when the Republican primary rolls around next year.