Former Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn announced Friday that he’s running for Congress, in a bid to work as a lawmaker in the same building he defended during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot.
Dunn, 40, has become a prominent voice in speaking out about what officers faced that day. He joins a crowded Democratic primary field looking to replace longtime Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes, who is not running for reelection this November.
Dunn was one of the most outspoken Capitol officers after Jan. 6
Dunn enters the race with a high profile in Washington as one of the first officers to speak to the press after the Jan. 6 attack. He told The New York Times that he did so to counter criticism of the Capitol Police officers that spread following the riot, and to document how “bravely” they fought. “They’re heroes,” he said. He also spoke about the racist slurs that rioters hurled at him on Jan. 6, and testified before the House committee investigating the attack.
“I never thought I’d run for office, but then January 6 happened,” Dunn told Semafor. “Since then, I’ve been on a mission for justice, to preserve our democracy, and to stand our ground against the extremists trying to tear our country apart.”
Getting accountability for Jan. 6 a priority for Dunn
Dunn wrote a memoir last year focused on his search for “accountability and good trouble” after the attack. Getting widespread accountability for Jan. 6 has been a dominant theme for Dunn; he has criticized “Donald Trump and his acolytes” for downplaying the events of that day, and said it’s not enough to only punish the people who physically attacked the Capitol. “The American people deserve to know who played any role in planning or financing the events that led to the attack,” he wrote in The Washington Post, and “who failed to take timely action to warn of and prepare for the impending violence.”
Jan. 6 will be a 2024 election theme
Dunn’s race comes the same year as the U.S. presidential election, in which the events of Jan. 6 are likely to be a major theme. In a speech Friday, President Joe Biden is set to use the anniversary of the riot to cast his reelection bid as central to the ongoing fight for democracy. His campaign also has a new ad featuring footage from Jan. 6. Trump, meanwhile, has increasingly embraced Jan. 6 and its participants since leaving office, calling it a “beautiful day” and saying he will pardon “many” of the rioters.
— Kadia Goba contributed to this report.