Rubbing Elbows

Unpacked: On the Campaign Trail 

Daniel Gade, SPA professorial lecturer and Republican candidate for US Senate in Virginia 

Illustrations of an anchor rope, a bike wheel, a deer mount, a campaign sticker, and the bible
Two purple hearts

I was wounded in Iraq in 2005 and lost my entire right leg. The Purple Heart has important meaning to me: it represents the love every soldier has for his or her country and blood shed on the battlefield.

Anchor rope

I bought my twin sons little sailboats on Craigslist after they took lessons a couple years ago. We like to go sailing on the Potomac.

Gade campaign sticker

I love meeting people on the campaign trail. I fundraise on the phone for several hours a day, host an event or Zoom meeting every night, and travel around the commonwealth every weekend. I’m busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.


I enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1992. Going to West Point a year later felt like going home.

Illustrated image of the book Portraits of Courage

I served in President George W. Bush’s administration, working on veterans’ issues. He presented my two Purple Hearts and later painted me for Portraits of Courage.


I spent 25 years in the Army and have always been physically active. I get up at 6 and do CrossFit workouts in the “House of Gains” at home.

3rd armored cavalry regiment hat

My wife, Wendy, is my rock. We got married 21 years ago when I was in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

Phone with Joe Rogan Podcast on screen

The Joe Rogan Experience is one of my favorite podcasts. I don’t always agree with him, but he asks great questions.

the bible

Even during the campaign, we go to Emmanuel Bible Church in Springfield every Sunday.

Bike wheel

When I started cycling upright again in June 2010, I did two miles and was exhausted. Later that year, I completed Ironman Arizona. Today, I ride my Specialized road bike twice a week.

Deer mount

My mom recently gave me my late father’s deer rifle. We hunted together when I was growing up on a farm in North Dakota.

Medal of Honor recipients book

I’m teaching two classes this semester: a political research course and a Complex Problems seminar, When Trumpets Fade, that explores military service since 9/11.