Brian Mast is the winner of Tuesday’s GOP primary for Florida’s 18th congressional district.
He tells Breibart News from his victory party in Palm City that he did not know he was close to winning until his opponents started attacking him in the last two weeks of the campaign.
“You don’t sling mud at the guy in last place,” said Brian Mast, the medically-retired Army staff sergeant, who gave both legs in Afghanistan, while serving with units under the command of Joint Special Operations Command.
“They came after me the hardest because they knew that I had the winning message,” said the combat veteran, who strongly endorsed GOP nominee for president Donald Trump.
The former explosives ordnance disposal specialist was the target of smears, because he earned his Harvard University degree through the school’s extension program, founded by John Lowell Jr., in 1835 as a lecture series for working people. In 191o, Lowell’s lectures program became a fully-accredited college program, which now has 14,000 enrolled students.
According to the extension school’s website:
We are Harvard—extended to the world for every type of adult learner. Our students come to us from every time zone, every culture and career background, every age from 18 to 89.
We are a fully accredited Harvard school. Our degrees and certificates are adorned with the Harvard University insignia. They carry the weight of that lineage. Our graduates walk at University commencement and become members of the Harvard Alumni Association.
Mast said the main issues in the campaign, where he connected with the voters were environment disaster created by the Army Corps of Engineers, when they deliberately forced freshwater from Lake Okeechobee into the salt water estuaries along Florida’s Treasure Coast and the criminal mismanagement of the local Veterans Affairs facilities.
The other issue was his commitment to service, he said.
When the candidate found out he won the primary, he was with campaign volunteers, friends and family.
“We were having a party, but maybe it wasn’t a party yet at that point,” he said. “Everybody was watching the TV very closely and I was trying to not pay attention whatsoever because I told them: ‘I don’t want to know the numbers until they are final'”
Once the race was called, Mast said he made his remarks:
My opponents made me a better candidate. They helped me to be a more prepared and well-rounded candidate. When I got into this race over one year ago, I wasn’t done defending this country. I wasn’t done fighting. That’s what we need is fight. We need people to recognize what the heritage of this country has always been. We are in a place that we should never be ashamed of. I came to this when I was lying in a bed in Walter Reed Army Medical Center. That is what brought me to this moment. I am just not going to let the best defense I give our country be in my past. I decided Washington, D.C. would be my next battlefield, if you will have me.
I will serve you in Congress like I did on the battlefield. Without regard for personal gain, without regard for personal sacrifice.
In the general election, Mast faces Democrat Randy Perkins.