A Republican Army veteran from Jefferson County has announced he will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democrat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in next year’s election.

Erik Aadland, 41, is a West Point graduate and decorated officer who served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He now lives in Pine with his family, and until last year he worked for Noble Energy as a project manager. 

In a Colorado Politics interview, Aadland descried his campaign as a call to duty.

“I think we’re in crisis everywhere — at the border; we’re in crisis economically,” he told Colorado Politics. “But the fact is, Americans are fighting Americans. The division and the polarization is at an extraordinary level. I want to be a unifying voice and factor, not someone who is divisive.”

Aadland recently joined the Republican Party, having previously voted independent. 

He went through candidate training with America First Republicans, which was founded by former congressional candidate Casper Stockham.

Good luck, Aadland, and welcome to the jungle!