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SBC contingent changes in Congress

WASHINGTON (BP)–The Southern Baptist representation in Congress underwent a significant shake-up in the mid-term election cycle.

Nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives whose memberships are in Southern Baptist churches will no longer be in that chamber for various reasons. They departed the House in the following ways:

— Reps. John Boozman of Arkansas and Roy Blunt of Missouri, both Republicans, won election to the U.S. Senate Nov. 2.

— Three Democratic representatives — Bobby Bright of Alabama, Travis Childers of Mississippi and Lincoln Davis of Tennessee — lost in their races for re-election.

— Rep. Nathan Deal, a Republican, won the race for governor in Georgia.

— Reps. J. Gresham Barrett of South Carolina and Zach Wamp of Tennessee both lost in the Republican gubernatorial primaries in their states earlier this year.

— Rep. Henry Brown, R.-S.C., retired after five terms in the House.

Newly elected Southern Baptists will fill at least some of the void. Baptist Press has learned the following members of Southern Baptist churches will be freshmen in the new Congress, but there reportedly are more:

— James Lankford, a Republican and a member of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, defeated Democrat Billy Coyle by a 62-35 percent margin in Oklahoma’s Fifth Congressional District. Lankford was program director at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Falls Creek summer camp from 1996 to 2009.

— Daniel Webster, a Republican and a member of First Baptist Church of Central Florida in Orlando, overcame Democratic incumbent Alan Grayson by 56-38 percent in Florida’s Eighth District. Webster is a former Speaker of the House and Senate majority leader in the state legislature.

— Rick Crawford, a Republican and a member of Nettleton Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ark., outpolled Democrat Chad Causey 52-43 percent to win in Arkansas’ First District. Crawford became the first Republican elected in the Northeast Arkansas district since Reconstruction.

Also, Steve Pearce, a Republican and a member of Taylor Memorial Baptist Church in Hobbs., N.M., regained his former seat in New Mexico’s Second District after two years out of office. He defeated Democratic incumbent Harry Teague by 55-45 percent two years after losing a race for the U.S. Senate. Pearce had served three terms in the House.

Boozman, a member of First Baptist Church in Rogers, Ark., won an easy victory over incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat, after serving five terms in the House. Boozman outpolled Lincoln by 58-37 percent.

Blunt, a member of First Baptist Church in Branson, Mo., defeated Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, by 54-41 percent. Blunt served seven terms as a U.S. representative.

Deal, a member of First Baptist Church in Gainesville, Ga., defeated former Georgia Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes after serving nine terms in the House.

Following is a list, as compiled by Baptist Press, of the ballot results for members of Southern Baptist churches who sought re-election to Congress. (The vote totals are from the website of CNN. The number of precincts reporting varied from 97 to 100 percent. Some races had more than two candidates on the ballot, but only the top two finishers are included.)


Oklahoma: Sen. Tom Coburn, Republican, seeking second term, First Baptist Church, Muskogee, defeated Jim Rogers, Democrat, 716,347-265,519, 71-26 percent.


Alabama: Rep. Bobby Bright, D., Second District, seeking second term, First Baptist Church, Montgomery, lost to Martha Roby, R., 111,332-106,465, 51-49 percent. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R. Sixth District, seeking 10th term, Hunter Street BC, Hoover, was unopposed, according to CNN.

Arizona: Rep. Trent Franks, R., Second District, seeking fifth term, North Phoenix BC, Phoenix, defeated John Thrasher, D., 137,268-64,306, 65-31 percent.

Florida: Rep. Vern Buchanan, R., 13th District, seeking third term, First BC, Sarasota, defeated James Golden, D., 183,615-82,992, 69-31 percent.

Georgia: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R., Third District, seeking fourth term, Orchard Hills Baptist Church, Newnan, defeated Robert Saunders, D., 158,996-71,036, 69-31 percent. Rep. Paul Broun, R. 10th District, seeking third term, Prince Avenue BC, Bogart, defeated Russell Edwards, D., 137,263-66,574, 67-33 percent.

Kentucky: Rep. Harold Rogers, R., Fifth District, seeking 16th term, First BC, Somerset, defeated James Holbert, D., 150,842-43,997, 77-23 percent.

Louisiana: Rep. John Fleming, R., Fourth District, seeking second term, First BC, Minden, defeated David Melville, D., 105,206-54,598, 62-33 percent. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R., Fifth District, seeking fifth term, Sweetwater BC, Quitman, was unopposed, CNN reported.

Mississippi: Rep. Travis Childers, D., First District, seeking second full term, East Booneville BC, Booneville, lost to Patrick Nunnelee, R., 116,036-85,400, 55-41 percent. Rep. Gregg Harper, R., 3rd District, seeking second term, Crossgates BC, Brandon, defeated Joel Gill, D., 128,160-58,605, 68-31 percent.

Missouri: Rep. Sam Graves, R., Sixth District, seeking sixth term, First BC, Tarkio, defeated Clint Hylton, D., 153,973-67,717, 69-31 percent.

North Carolina: Rep. Heath Shuler, D., 11th District, seeking third term, Biltmore BC, Arden, defeated Jeffery Miller, R., 129,677-109,029, 54-46 percent.

Oklahoma: Rep. Frank Lucas, R., Third District, seeking 10th term, First BC, Cheyenne, defeated Frankie Robbins, D., 161,915-45,684, 78-22 percent.

Tennessee: Rep. Lincoln Davis, D., Fourth District, seeking fifth term, Byrdstown First BC, Byrdstown, lost to Scott Desjarlais, R., 104,025-70,329, 57-39 percent.

Texas: Rep. Louie Gohmert, R., First District, seeking fourth term, Green Acres BC, Tyler, was unopposed, according to CNN. Rep. Al Green, D., Ninth District, seeking fourth term, Cullen Missionary BC, Houston, defeated Steve Mueller, R., 79,957-24,157, 76-23 percent. Rep. Mike Conaway, R., 11th District, seeking fourth term, First BC, Midland, defeated James Quillian, D., 125,354-23,939, 81-15 percent. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R., 19th District, seeking fifth term, First BC, Lubbock, defeated Andy Wilson, D., 105,818-26,082, 78-19 percent.

Virginia: Rep. Randy Forbes, R., Fourth District, seeking sixth term, Great Bridge BC, Chesapeake, defeated Wynne LeGrow, D., 122,667-74,209, 62-38 percent.
Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press. If you know of other incoming House or Senate members who are members of Southern Baptist churches, please e-mail [email protected]

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