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Navy Veteran Kicks Off Campaign by Aiming at Trump’s Raid in Yemen

Andrew Learned | Politics | Elections

Andrew Learned is running against Ross Spano for the 15th Congressional District seat in the 2020 election.

BRANDON – Andrew Learned, a Navy veteran, small business owner and educator, has announced that he will run against Ross Spano for the 15th Congressional District in the 2020 election.

Learned formally launched his campaign by rolling out an gripping ad, titled Defining Moments.

The ad spotlights the Jan. 29, 2017, raid on Yakla, Yemen. The raid was the first covert mission during Donald Trump’s presidency, and in its aftermath, was mired in controversy for how the operation was handled by the Trump Administration. Learned, at the time, was serving with Combined Task Force 51/5 and had a role in planning the raid along with crisis response throughout the Middle East theater.

The ad goes directly after the national security record of the administration and contrasts Learned’s patriotism and service against that of Spano, who came into Congress in 2018 amidst one of the worst campaign finance scandals in decades.

In Defining Moments Learned, a veteran of 10 years in the U.S. Navy and three Middle East deployments, says, “Today our country is in a fight for its very soul — and for our future. We need leaders ready for the fights that lay ahead. Unfortunately, we are represented by one of the most corrupt members of Congress. We deserve leaders who will put country first. Their service over ‘them-self.’ Leaders who understand what it’s like to start a small business on maxed out credit cards and an empty savings account. I do. That’s why I’ll fight for all of us — our neighbors, veterans, students, women, seniors and working families all across Tampa and Central Florida.”

Labeled as one of the top 33 nationwide target races for red-to-blue flip by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Florida’s 15th District is likely to be one of the most competitive and closely watched campaigns across the country in 2020.

Learned was born in Sarasota, grew up in Valrico, and graduated high school in Fort Myers before enrolling at the University of Tampa. There, he studied economics, government, and world affairs in addition to his duties in the Navy ROTC program. During his junior year, Learned was elected student body president and served as company commander for his Navy ROTC unit.

After graduation, Learned was commissioned as an officer into the U.S. Navy, serving on active duty for four years. He was a surface warfare officer who specialized as his ship’s boarding officer. In that role, Learned led small teams on boarding operations throughout two deployments to the Middle East and North Africa. In 2014, as a lieutenant, Learned transitioned to the U.S. Navy Reserves.

Returning home, he sold his home and maxed out his credit cards to open a neighborhood learning center called GradePower Learning. Now, he has about a dozen employees who help a few hundred students excel through after-school tutoring.

In 2016, Andrew returned to active service with the Navy to be the lead surface planner for Commander Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade forward deployed to Bahrain. During this deployment, Learned led surface coordination efforts during the crisis in the Bab-Al-Mandeb, when Huthi rebels were firing missiles at US and Coalition warships in the strategic choke-point.

Learned worked to protect and defend dozens of merchant shipping transits every day, thereby ensuring freedom of navigation for all friendly and neutral forces. For his efforts and service, Learned received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

This is Learned’s second try for the CD 15 seat. He came in second in the 2018 Democratic primary to Kristen Carlson. Spano, a Republican, defeated Carlson in the general election.

CD 15 stretches from Tampa and Brandon on the west along the I-4 corridor to the Clermont area on the northeast.

For information about Learned, go to

Andrew Learned | Politics | Elections | Tampabay News

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Navy Veteran Kicks Off Campaign by Aiming at Trump's Raid in Yemen
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Navy Veteran Kicks Off Campaign by Aiming at Trump's Raid in Yemen
Andrew Learned is running against Ross Spano for the 15th Congressional District seat in the 2020 election.
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TB Reporter
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