So what happens when a candidate gets an endorsement from the Veterans of Foreign Wars?
When the candidate is running against a veteran of the Iraq War who lost both legs when the Blackhawk helicopter she was flying was shot down, the endorsement tends to backfire.
That's what happened in Illinois' 6th Congressional District, where the VFW astonishingly endorsed Peter Roskam (R), who is not a veteran, passing over Tammy Duckworth (D) the double amputee mentioned above.
According to the Chicago area Daily Herald, "World War II veteran Joe Buttice of Wood Dale was unable to explain much about the endorsement other than to say Roskam 'supports a strong defense for our country but also he took care of our local veterans at the same time.'"
Apparently, the VFW had been encouraged to give the endorsement by various local Republican leaders but never spoke with at least one of the local posts (Bloomingdale), which had already endorsed Duckworth. Most surprisingly, it is unclear that the VFW did any analysis of the two candidates, since they did not contact the Duckworth campaign for a interview or to answer a questionaire — standard practice for such organizations when deciding on endorsements.
Although Roskam said "he doesn’t fear a backlash among 6th District voters over how the endorsement was arrived at," his campaign is already trying to put out the fire. One statement issued by the campaign, in response to criticisms of the VFW's process, included the line that "The Duckworth campaign DID NOT contact the VFW or seek their endorsement," as though endorsements are first-come-first-served.