Seth Moulton facts for kids
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Official portrait, 2015
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 6th district
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||John F. Tierney|
Seth Wilbur Moulton
October 24, 1978
Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Education||Harvard University (AB, MBA, MPP)|
|Branch/service||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||2001–2008|
|Unit||1st Battalion 4th Marines|
|Awards|| Bronze Star (2) with valor
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with valor
Seth Wilbur Moulton (born October 24, 1978) is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative for Massachusetts's 6th congressional district since 2015. A former Marine Corps officer, he is a member of the Democratic Party.
After graduating from Harvard University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in physics, Moulton joined the United States Marine Corps. He served four tours in Iraq and then went on to earn his master's degrees in business and public policy in a dual program at Harvard. He entered politics in 2014 when he ran for Massachusetts's 6th congressional district, a seat that he won and has held ever since.
In early 2019, Moulton was seen as a potential presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2020. Publicly expressing his interest in the prospect, he traveled to early primary states. After announcing his candidacy on April 22, 2019, Moulton failed to gain traction and withdrew from the race on August 23.
- Early life, education, and commission
- Military career
- Private sector career
- U.S. House of Representatives
- 2020 presidential campaign
- Personal life
- Electoral history
Early life, education, and commission
Moulton was born on October 24, 1978, in Salem, Massachusetts, to Lynn Alice (née Meader), a secretary, and Wilbur Thomas Moulton, Jr., a real estate attorney. Moulton has two younger siblings, Eliza and Cyrus, and grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He graduated from Phillips Academy in 1997, and attended Harvard College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in physics in 2001. He gave the Undergraduate English Oration at his commencement, focusing on the importance of service.
Moulton joined the Marine Corps after graduation, a few months before the September 11 attacks. He attended the Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. After graduating in 2002 with the rank of second lieutenant, Moulton was among the first service members to enter Baghdad at the beginning of the Iraq War.
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Moulton led one of the first infantry platoons to enter Baghdad. He served a total of four tours of duty in Iraq from 2003 to 2008. Moulton took part in the 2003 Battle of Nasiriyah, leading a platoon that cleared a hostile stronghold. In that action, he went to the aid of a Marine wounded by friendly fire, and for his actions he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for valor. Moulton was active in combat against insurgent forces in Iraq, including the 2004 Battle of Najaf against the militia of Muqtada al-Sadr. Over two days, he "fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire" as his platoon was pinned down under heavy fire and then directed the supporting fire that repelled the attack. He received the Bronze Star Medal for his actions in this battle.
In 2008, General David Petraeus requested that Moulton be assigned to work as a special liaison with tribal leaders in Southern Iraq during his fourth tour of duty in Iraq. Following that tour, Moulton was discharged from the Marine Corps with the rank of captain.
In 2003, Moulton co-hosted a television program with his Iraqi interpreter, Mohammed Harba, called Moulton and Mohammed, during which they discussed regional conditions in the period following the U.S. invasion before an audience of U.S. servicemen and Iraqi citizens. The show ended after three months when Moulton's unit left the area.
Between 2003 and 2008, Moulton was frequently interviewed about his experiences as an officer in Iraq by U.S. national media, including CNN, MSNBC, and NPR programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Moulton was also prominently featured in the 2007 Academy Award-nominated documentary No End in Sight. In the film, Moulton criticized the U.S. government's handling of the occupation of Iraq. Director Charles H. Ferguson chose to include Moulton, along with two other Iraq veterans.
Private sector career
After he left the Marines Corps in 2008, Moulton attended a dual-degree program at the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School, earning master's degrees in business and public policy in 2011. After graduate school, Moulton worked for one year as managing director of the Texas Central Railway, a transportation firm. In 2011, Moulton and a graduate school classmate founded Eastern Healthcare Partners, which Moulton has invoked to show he was a "successful entrepreneur" who understands "what it's like to face that day when you might not meet payroll." The company raised investor funds and drafted a partnership agreement with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, but in October 2014 the Boston Globe reported that by the time Moulton ran for Congress, EHP had no revenue, was still incubating, and had closed its only Massachusetts office.
U.S. House of Representatives
Moulton had considered running against Democratic Representative John F. Tierney of Massachusetts's 6th congressional district as an Independent in the 2012 elections, but he decided against it in July 2012, saying that "the time and the logistics of putting together all the campaign infrastructure, organizing the volunteers ... the fundraising—it's just too much to accomplish in three months." He told Roll Call that his own polling "showed there was in fact a clear path to victory" and said he might run for office in the future.
On July 8, 2013, Moulton announced his candidacy in the 2014 congressional race for Massachusetts' 6th district.
The race had been recognized for its competitiveness by national and regional media throughout the election cycle. Moulton challenged Tierney in the Democratic primary.
Tierney's campaign claimed in campaign advertisements that Moulton received campaign contributions from a New Hampshire political action committee that previously donated only to Republicans, implying that Moulton must hold conservative views. Moulton denied being more conservative than his opponent, and stated that the Republican PAC donation was returned. Public Federal Election Commission filings confirmed that the donation was returned in February 2014.
Moulton said that he opposed the Iraq War in which he served. A Tierney campaign staff member said that Moulton had "changed his mind" and highlighted Tierney's vote in Congress to oppose the 2002 resolution authorizing the U.S. Invasion of Iraq. Moulton also received the first-ever political endorsement from Ret. Gen. Stanley McChrystal during the campaign.
Moulton defeated Tierney in the primary with 50.8% of the vote to Tierney's 40.1%.
Moulton was endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren for the general election. In October 2014, he withdrew from a debate sponsored by radio station WGBH because of a series of New York fundraisers, where he welcomed Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The campaigns of Moulton and his Republican opponent, Richard Tisei, were held up as an example of how candidates can compete with respect for each other.
Moulton defeated Tisei in the general election with 55.0% to Tisei's 41.1%.
Moulton was uncontested for reelection in 2016.
Moulton ran against Republican candidate Joseph Schneider in 2018. He won with 65.2% of the vote.
Moulton faced his first primary challenge since winning his own challenge in 2014. He defeated the Democratic challengers Angus McQuilken and Jamie Belsito, with 78% of the vote, and went on to defeat Republican John Paul Moran, with 65.4% of the vote.
Moulton was sworn into the 114th United States Congress on January 3, 2015.
Following the 2018 elections, Democrats returned to being the majority party in the House of Representatives. Moulton and some others who felt current leadership was "too old," gathered signatures to replace Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the Democrats' leader. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) was their first choice as the person to take the leadership role from Pelosi. Bass rejected the offer, as did others, choosing instead to support Pelosi for House Speaker. On November 28, 2018, Pelosi won the speakership on a 203-to-32 vote, with Moulton voting for her.
On August 24, 2021, Moulton and Representative Peter Meijer flew unannounced into Hamid Karzai International Airport amid the evacuation of Americans and allies after the fall of Kabul. The two explained that their visit was kept secret to minimize disruption, and that its goal was "to provide guidance" to the Biden administration. Several government officials said, however, that the surprise visit produced unhelpful distraction from the ongoing work of evacuating people. The next day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to all House members, saying that "the Departments of Defense and State have requested that Members not travel to Afghanistan and the region during this time of danger" because such travel "would unnecessarily divert needed resources" from the evacuation efforts. Moulton defended his Kabul trip against criticisms saying, "At the end of the day, I don’t care what pundits in Washington are saying...They’ve been wrong about this war for 20 years."
- Committee on the Budget
- Committee on Armed Services
- Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
- Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
- Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials
- New Democrat Coalition
- Blue Collar Caucus
2020 presidential campaign
Moulton officially announced his candidacy on April 22, 2019. On August 23, 2019, he suspended his campaign and withdrew from the race. During his campaign, Moulton never polled above 2% in any of the 2020 Democratic presidential opinion polls, and he was not invited to the first two Democratic presidential debates, having failed to meet the criteria for invitation.
Following his withdrawal, Moulton's candidacy generated interest after President Donald Trump sarcastically tweeted, in response to stock market fluctuations, "The Dow is down 573 points on the news that Representative Seth Moulton, whoever that may be, has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race!"
On June 23, 2017, Moulton announced on Twitter his engagement to his girlfriend Liz Boardman, a senior client partner at an executive search firm. They were married at the Old North Church, Marblehead, Massachusetts, on September 22, 2017. The couple's first child was born in October 2018. In 2019, Moulton announced, during an interview with Politico, that he was suffering from Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), following his service in the Marine Corps. On August 29, 2020, Moulton announced that the family was expecting a second child, who was born in February 2021.
|2014||Seth Moulton||50.8%||John F. Tierney||40.1%|
|2020||Seth Moulton||77.9%||Jamie Belsito, Angus McQuilken||Belsito-12.5%, McQuilken-9.6%|
|2014||Seth Moulton||55.0%||Richard Tisei||41.1%|
|2018||Seth Moulton||65.2%||Joseph Schneider||31.4%|
|2020||Seth Moulton||65.4%||John Paul Moran||34.4%|
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