Rep. Tom Price (R)
Georgia 6th District
In the red clay north of Atlanta, an almost wholly new metropolitan quarter has grown up over the past four decades, as affluent Atlanta has spread out past the Interstate 285 Perimeter into territory that was once farms, small towns, and modest factory cities. Where there were perhaps 100,000 people in the 1950s, there are more than 1 million today. No longer is downtown Atlanta the only focus. The edge cities of Perimeter Center and the area near Cumberland Mall are not just for shopping. They are major office centers, exceeding downtown Atlanta in square footage. Along the usually jammed Georgia 400 highway, in the fast-growing northern part of Fulton County, are the affluent suburbs of Sandy Springs, Roswell, and Alpharetta. At the tip of the county, near the Chattahoochee River, the new cities of Johns Creek and Milton were incorporated in 2006 to free residents of county government. Cobb County is the headquarters of The Weather Channel. Home Depot, the nation’s second-largest retailer, is based in Sandy Springs. Farther out in Cherokee County, where the population has more than doubled since 1990, the big issue has been the proposed Northern Arc highway. Commuters on congested roads have ached for relief. For all this economic and demographic change, this Golden Crescent north of the Perimeter and between Interstate 75 in Cobb County and Interstate 85 strives to keep at least some reminders of old rural Georgia. The buildings are tree-shaded, and lush foliage and large-lot requirements have given most of the communities a woodsy look.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 6th Congressional District of Georgia occupies a large portion of this suburban area north of Atlanta, including the eastern slice of Cobb County, much of northern Fulton, the northwest tip of DeKalb, and all of Cherokee County. It contains affluent Alpharetta, fast-growing Canton, and historic Roswell. This seat was created after the 1990 census, and its boundaries have twice been reshaped by redistricting. It would surely surprise Georgians a generation or two ago to learn that one of their congressional districts would rank among the nation’s richest and most educated. Now the 6th and the 7th districts both do. The 6th is one of several heavily Republican Georgia districts, and the political tension here tends to be between economic and cultural conservatives. In 2004, President Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry 70%-29%. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama trimmed the Republican lead for John McCain here to 65%-34%.
Rep. Tom Price (R)
Elected: 2004, 3rd term.
Born: Oct. 8, 1954, Lansing, MI .
Education: U. of MI, B.A. 1976, M.D. 1979.
Family: Married (Betty); 1 child.
Elected office: GA Senate, 1996-2004; Maj. ldr., 2002-03.
Professional Career: Practicing orthopedic surgeon, 1979-2002; Asst. prof., Emory U., 2002-present.
The congressman from the 6th District is Tom Price, a Republican elected in 2004. Price grew up in Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan and its medical school. His father and grandfather were both physicians. He did his residency in orthopedic surgery at Emory Medical School and then moved to Roswell, where he was involved in civic affairs and was president of the Rotary Club. Working closely with the Medical Association of Georgia, he campaigned locally against President Clinton’s health care plan in the early 1990s. When a seat opened in the state Senate in 1996, he was elected, and quickly moved up the leadership ranks to become majority leader when Republicans captured the Senate in 2002 for the first time since Reconstruction.
|Tom Price (R)||231,520||(68%)||($1,607,716)|
|Bill Jones (D)||106,551||(32%)||($640,883)|
|Tom Price (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (72%), 2004 (100%)
When Republican U.S. Rep. Johnny Isakson announced he was running for the Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Zell Miller, the contest for this heavily Republican open seat was hard-fought and big-spending. Three state senators ran—Price from Fulton County, and Robert Lamutt and Chuck Clay from Cobb County. Price spent $499,000 of his own money and contrasted his work in medicine with the legal and business careers of his two main opponents. He highlighted his fiscal conservatism and strong support for limiting jury awards in malpractice suits, a position that won him considerable support from the medical community. Calling the federal income tax “broken,” he supported a national retail sales tax. He said that he had “a surgeon’s mentality…. I get things done.” Price led the first round of the primary with 35% of the vote; Lamutt made it into the runoff with 28% (to 21% for Clay). Lamutt, who cited his success in creating an assets-management firm and gave $1.5 million to his campaign, criticized Price as a “special interest” candidate because he raised large sums from fellow doctors. He also attacked Price’s 2003 support for a 25-cent tax increase on cigarettes. Price defended his vote as a tool to reduce local property taxes, and claimed Lamutt helped cigarette makers at the expense of everyday people. In the runoff, Price got 79% in Fulton County and held Lamutt to 59% in Cobb. With the small vote in Cherokee County split nearly evenly, Price won 54%-46%.
In 2004, Lamutt was one of two candidates in Georgia runoffs endorsed by former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who once represented this district; both lost. With physician Paul Broun, obstetrician Phil Gingrey and dentist John Linder, Price is the fourth medical professional in the Georgia Republican delegation.
In the House, Price’s voting record is among the most conservative. As a member of the Financial Services Committee, he has dealt contentiously on housing issues with liberal Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass. On health care, he opposed government intervention to negotiate Medicare drug prices, which he said were being reduced by market forces. He joined Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin on a proposal to increase health insurance coverage by giving the states more authority and flexibility. During debate of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program in 2007, he crafted a conservative alternative to the Democratic plans to expand the program. The Democrats wanted to increase the program by $35 billion over five years. Price called for an $11.5 billion increase over five years, with incentives to encourage people to get into the private insurance market. As one of 13 physicians in the House in 2009, he helped to create the Medical and Dental Doctors Caucus to try to establish a unified Republican message on health care.
Price also has been a fierce partisan. In 2009, he became chairman of the Republican Study Committee, which promotes conservative ideas and legislation and includes some of the most conservative House members. He also helped create an “Official Truth Squad” to highlight statements and positions of Democrats that he thinks might be unpopular with the public. The Washington Post wrote in 2007: “The bookish physician has transformed himself into a Republican guerrilla warrior, a near-constant presence on the House floor, gumming up the works with parliamentary objections, verbal volleys, and partisan maneuvering.” He was a leading organizer of the House Republicans’ protest in the House chamber during the August 2008 recess, which was aimed at pressuring Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring to the floor a bill allowing offshore oil exploration in America’s coastal waters.
Georgia’s redistricting in 2005 served the Fulton County-based Price’s interest by reducing opportunities for GOP primary challengers from Cobb County. That county is now divided between the 6th, 11th, and 13th districts. He has been re-elected with only minor opposition.