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Republican

Rep. Tom Graves (R)

Tom Graves Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-5211

Address: 432 CHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (706) 226-5320

Address: 702 South Thornton Avenue, Dalton GA 30721-8211

Rome GA

Phone: (706) 290-1776

Fax: (706) 232-7864

Address: 600 East First Street, Rome GA 30161-3187

Tom Graves Staff
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Jones, Valerie
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Ferguson, Drew
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Tom Graves Committees
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Tom Graves Biography
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  • Elected: June 2010, 2nd full term.
  • District: Georgia 14
  • Born: Feb. 03, 1970, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Home: Ranger
  • Education:

    U. of GA, B.B.A. 1993.

  • Professional Career:

    Owner, Southern Vision; real estate developer.

  • Political Career:

    GA House, 2002-10.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Baptist

  • Family: Married (Julie); 3 children

Republican Tom Graves was elected in a June 2010 special election to replace 17-year incumbent Nathan Deal, also a Republican, who resigned his seat to run for governor. A well-regarded figure among his fellow conservatives but a periodic annoyance to House GOP leaders, Graves lost a bid in November 2012 to chair the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of the chamber’s most right-wing members. Read More

Republican Tom Graves was elected in a June 2010 special election to replace 17-year incumbent Nathan Deal, also a Republican, who resigned his seat to run for governor. A well-regarded figure among his fellow conservatives but a periodic annoyance to House GOP leaders, Graves lost a bid in November 2012 to chair the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of the chamber’s most right-wing members.

Graves is from the small town of Ranger, with fewer than 100 people, where he still lives with his wife, Julie Graves, and their three children on a farm. Growing up, he lived in a single-wide trailer on a tar and gravel road, the son of a Georgia Power laborer who told him to “dream big and then work hard.” In high school, he wasn’t a top student, but he excelled in math and played both offensive guard and defensive linebacker on the football team. Graves took out loans and worked to pay for college, becoming the first in his family to earn a degree. After graduation, Graves worked for Federated Department Stores, now Macy’s, as an asset recovery specialist. He saved his money, and, in 1995, bought a small landscaping business. Graves eventually sold off portions of the company to begin investing in real estate.

He met his future wife at Roswell Street Baptist Church, and she was instrumental in getting him involved in the anti-abortion movement. He says he opposes abortion “without exception,” including cases in which the mother’s life is at stake. In 2001, he and Julie, the founding president of the Gordon County Right to Life chapter, successfully opposed the construction of an abortion clinic in the area. The campaign propelled Graves to a seat on the county board and later in the Georgia House, where he served more than seven years. While a state legislator, he advocated for abortion restrictions and lower taxes, including a successful 2009 business tax cut bill. Of his political philosophy, he says, “There is a spectrum of conservatism from fiscal to social ... And I’m a conservative all the way across the board.” He said former President Reagan is the figure he most admires in politics.

In the special election runoff to succeed Deal, Graves bested Republican state Sen. Lee Hawkins, 56% to 44%, in a June 2010 runoff for the remainder of Deal’s term. Then, the two faced off again in the primary for a full term. During the primary campaign, Graves called for abolition of the departments of Education and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. He supported constitutional amendments to balance the budget and to give the president line item veto power over spending bills. He also opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants and called for stricter enforcement of current immigration laws.

Graves and Hawkins staked out similar positions. Both supported a conservative proposal to replace the income tax with a national sales tax. Both called for the repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and railed against the $787 billion economic stimulus package. Hawkins cast Graves as “out of touch” and attacked him for a bank loan that had gone into default. But he could not overcome Graves’ backing by national Republican organizations, House Minority Leader John Boehner, and local tea party groups. Graves also outraised Hawkins, $1.3 million to $1 million. Graves won the August primary runoff, 55% to 45%, earning the Republican nomination to run in the general election, which was a pro forma affair with no Democratic opposition.

In Washington, Graves joined the congressional Tea Party Caucus. His first bill was a proposal to deny funding to implement Obama’s 2010 health care law. At the end of the year, he received a slot on the Appropriations Committee, normally a coveted seat for members who want to help their districts. But Graves consistently voted to buck the leadership on spending bills. One of them was a failed September 2011 spending resolution to fund the government through mid-November; he was one of 48 Republicans who voted down the measure to protest the addition of $1 billion in disaster relief funds in the wake of Hurricane Irene and other climate disasters. Senior House Republicans, including some in leadership, reportedly urged that Graves be singled out for punishment on that vote, ideally by being stripped of his Appropriations seat. But Boehner declined to do so -- a favor that Graves repaid with another bout of obstinacy months later.

In 2013, Graves led a rebellion against Boehner's strategy in that year's battle over a bill to fund government operations. With the clock ticking toward an Oct. 1 deadline to pass the measure, Graves proposed that it be amended with a provision to stop funding for Obama's health care law, which was in the early stages of implementation. Boehner and other senior leaders opposed tying the the two into one take-it-or-leave-it bill, but Graves drummed up support from 60 fellow conservatives and under pressure, Boehner backed down. As expected, the Democratically controlled Senate voted 54-44 to strip the health care provision from the government funding bill. The subsequent stalemate led to the first government shutdown in 17 years, which left Republicans vulnerable to a public backlash.

"You don't have to threaten to blow the whole thing up if you don't get your way," Obama said as the shutdown began. Even prominent Republicans such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former GOP presidential nominee, condemned the strategy as likely to fail. And a Quinnipiac University poll showed that voters opposed closing the government to block implementation of the health care law by 72%-22%. The potential fallout for Graves was serious: If the shutdown proved politically damaging for his party, he would surely shoulder much of the blame, stunting further career advancement in the Republican caucus.

Graves has also drawn some negative headlines at home. He was accused of hypocrisy in March 2012 when The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. bailed out Graves and Georgia Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers for about half a $2.3 million loan that the two men had taken out five years early to rehabilitate a North Georgia hotel.

Still, Graves had little trouble winning reelection that November, taking 73% of the vote. After the election, he sought to head the Republican Study Committee and won the endorsement of the group’s founders, normally considered the key to getting the nod. But the slightly more senior Steve Scalise, R-La., also sought the job, citing his ability to work with the leadership and his success in passing bills. Scalise petitioned for the right to have the full committee hold a vote and, in doing so, pulled off an upset.

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Tom Graves Election Results
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2012 General
Tom Graves (R)
Votes: 159,947
Percent: 72.97%
Daniel Grant (D)
Votes: 59,245
Percent: 27.03%
2012 Primary
Tom Graves (R)
Votes: 65,873
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (unopposed), 2010 special (56%)
Tom Graves Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 10 (L) : 88 (C) 15 (L) : 81 (C) 30 (L) : 66 (C)
Social 16 (L) : 74 (C) - (L) : 91 (C) 31 (L) : 65 (C)
Foreign 24 (L) : 68 (C) 30 (L) : 66 (C) 32 (L) : 63 (C)
Composite 20.0 (L) : 80.0 (C) 17.8 (L) : 82.2 (C) 33.2 (L) : 66.8 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC10083
LCV09
CFG10093
ITIC-67
NTU9187
20112012
COC88-
ACLU-15
ACU100100
ADA55
AFSCME0-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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