Former U.S. Navy SEAL officer Clay Tippins is looking to join Missouri governor Eric Greitens as the second currently-serving chief executive officer of a U.S. state to be a former Naval Special Warfare officer. The 44-year-old Tippins is running as a self-described conservative Republican for the governorship of Georgia.
The former SEAL officer, according to his campaign website, was “the nation’s top swimmer in high school,” before attending Stanford University on a swimming scholarship. While in college, Tippins was a member of three of Stanford’s national championship swim teams, and also graduated from the prestigious school with honors in the political science program.
Tippins went through the Navy’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) after graduation from Stanford, and then successfully completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. He was then assigned to the West Coast-based SEAL Team One, and appears to have served a relatively short time as an active duty SEAL.
Tippins went on, however, to serve as a SEAL reservist with SEAL Team 18, and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander. During his time as a reservist, Tippins deployed to Iraq and was decorated for his part in counter-ISIS operations in the country.
Tippins is a native of Georgia, having been born in Cobb County and raised in Gwinnett County. He graduated from Shiloh High School, where he was a swimming national champion. He and his family currently live in Atlanta, and his aunt Lindsey Tippins is a state senator in Georgia. In the civilian sector, Tippins worked for several tech companies in Silicon Valley, California, before moving back to Georgia. He has also worked in the business sector for Capgemini and BrightStar corporations. The former is a global business and technology consulting firm, while the latter is a mobile telephone company.
Tippins entered the race for Georgia governor back in mid-November 2017. According to Georgia-based NBC affiliate 11 Alive, there are five Republicans in addition to Tippins vying for the governorship of Georgia. They include the sitting Lieutenant Governor, the Georgia Secretary of State, and a state Senator.
The gubernatorial election will be held on November 6th, 2018, to replace sitting Republican Nathan Deal, who is prevented by term limits from running again. Pollsters predict the state will remain in Republican hands, and the most recent polls in October of 2017 showed the current Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle, with a commanding lead. It remains to be seen if Tippins can move up in the polls and ultimately prevail on election day.
In addition to Greitens, former Navy SEALs Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska) and Jesse Ventura (I-Minnesota) have also served as state governors.
Featured image courtesy of the Clay Tippins for Georgia Facebook page.