"I am running for Congress in 2022 against congressman Peter DeFazio," Alek Skarlatos announced on Fox & Friends Weekend.
The congressional race will be the second time Skarlatos, 28, will try to unseat DeFazio, who has represented the 4th Congressional District of Oregon since before the veteran was born, as the two beforehand ran against each other in 2020.
The initial race was tight, with DeFazio getting 52% of the vote to Skarlatos’s 46%, thoughthough Skarlatos regarded the recent redrawing of the district as advantageous for Republicans.
"We're incredibly excited. Oregon is one of the six states that is gaining a congressional district, and even though Oregon is a deep blue state, that is going to make it almost impossible for them to keep Peter DeFazio in office once the lines move," Skarlatos said.
"We don't know the math quite yet, but pretty much any direction my district will move will go more Republican,” he continued.
"We're going to be excited to take back the House in 2022,” the veteran concluded.
DeFazio reacted to the declaration in a post on social media, referring to Skarlatos as his “Trumpian opponent” and a “professional union buster.”
"My Trumpian opponent from 2020, Alek Skarlatos, just filed to run against me this cycle," the congressman said. "I'm at the top of the NRCC’s 2022 target list and last election they dumped millions in the race to try to defeat me. They made it the most expensive congressional race in Oregon history."
Skarlatos, an Army National Guard veteran who served in Afghanistan, was heralded as a hero after he and two of his friends, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone, confronted an armed terrorist on a Paris train in 2015.
President Barack Obama in 2015 honored Stone with an Airman’s Medal and Purple Heart, while Skarlatos – who was a member of the Oregon National Guard – got the U.S. Army’s Soldier’s Medal. Skarlatos ran for a local county commission seat in 2018.
Skarlatos explained he became interested in politics after talking to his state senator on a plane to Washington, D.C., and was encouraged to consider running for office as a Republican.
Skarlatos played himself in the 2018 Clint Eastwood film "The 15:17 to Paris," which depicted the attempted attack on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. Skarlatos and two of his friends, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone, were traveling in Europe in August 2015 when they incapacitated an Islamist gunman.