Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2006, 4th term.

Born: October 2, 1954, Washington, D.C.

Home: Lithonia

Education: Clark Atlanta U., B.A. 1976, Texas S. U., J.D. 1979

Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1980-2006; Associate judge, DeKalb Cnty. Magistrate Court, 1989-2006.

Ethnicity: Black/African American

Religion: Buddhist

Family: married (Mereda Davis) , 2 children

Hank Johnson, a Democrat who won the seat in 2006, has a solidly liberal voting record and a reputation as a thoughtful lawmaker, although he is prone to embarrassing verbal gaffes.

Johnson was born in Washington, D.C., where his father was director of classifications and paroles for the Bureau of Prisons and his mother was a schoolteacher. He practiced law as a civil and criminal litigator and served 12 years as a magistrate judge in DeKalb County and then five years on the DeKalb County Commission. He resigned from the commission to run for Congress. Although his immediate family members are Presbyterians, he has been a Buddhist since the 1970s; he and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, are the first practicing Buddhists in Congress. “If you could say what drives me, it’s the middle ground, the middle way,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2009, invoking a Buddhist principle.

In 2006, Johnson ousted Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney in the primary. McKinney was a controversial incumbent, once suggesting that President George W. Bush might have had prior knowledge of the September 11 terrorist attacks but did not act on it because a war on terrorism would boost defense stocks held by his father’s friends. Her own party lost patience with her after she struck a Capitol police officer who had stopped her at a security checkpoint.

In the July 18 primary, McKinney led Johnson, 47%-44%, but her failure to break the 50% threshold in the three-candidate field forced a runoff. Johnson gained additional momentum after the primary. His fundraising suddenly picked up, as donors, including former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes, weighed in against McKinney. She responded by criticizing Johnson’s past financial troubles, which included declaring bankruptcy in the late 1980s. But in the runoff, turnout was up and Johnson beat McKinney easily, 59%-41%. He then breezed to victory in the general election against minor opposition.

In the House, Johnson has made several eyebrow-raising statements that have landed him atop liberal as well as conservative blogs. After South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted, “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during a 2009 address to Congress, Johnson suggested that if the House took no disciplinary action against Wilson, “We’ll have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again.” In December 2012, Johnson gave a speech attacking Michigan’s new right-to-work law and said, “What happens when you put, in a cage fight, a giant in with a midget? Well, the midget will not win the fight, I am going to tell you that.” He subsequently apologized for using the “m-word,” which he acknowledged is “no longer socially acceptable.”

On the Judiciary Committee, Johnson in November 2012 said a Republican bill to change the visa program raised the “ugly head of racism,” contending the legislation would have the effect of shutting out various racial groups from access to U.S. visas. To improve election accountability, he introduced a bill in August 2012 requiring cities and towns using electronic voting machines to deposit the software or source code with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In November 2011, he unsuccessfully tried to add an amendment to GOP gun legislation requiring that people carrying concealed handguns get firearm safety training. Earlier, he backed relief for people facing housing foreclosures and sought protections against predatory lending.

On the Armed Services Committee, Johnson has worked to prevent military suicides. In June 2012, he criticized a Republican provision in the fiscal 2013 defense bill directing the Obama administration to consider basing tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea to counter North Korea, a measure Johnson dubbed the “Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb provision.” Administration officials firmly rejected the GOP’s idea.

Johnson won reelection in 2008 without major party opposition. McKinney considered a rematch with Johnson but then decided to run for president as the nominee of the Green Party. In 2009, Johnson announced that he had battled hepatitis C, an incurable blood-borne liver disease, for more than a decade. Two Democrats lined up to challenge him in the 2010 primary, and one of them, former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, openly questioned his missing a series of debates. Johnson, however, insisted his health was fine and unveiled an endorsement from Obama, who said the congressman “has done an outstanding job.” He won the July primary with 55% to Jones’ 26% and former DeKalb County Commissioner Connie Stokes’ 18%, and he easily won the general election.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-1605

(202) 226-0691

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2240
Washington, DC 20515-1004

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-1605

(202) 226-0691

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2240
Washington, DC 20515-1004

DISTRICT OFFICE

(770) 987-2291

(770) 987-8721

5700 Hillandale Drive Suite 120
Lithonia, GA 30058-4104

DISTRICT OFFICE

(770) 987-2291

(770) 987-8721

5700 Hillandale Drive Suite 120
Lithonia, GA 30058-4104

DISTRICT OFFICE

(770) 987-2291

(770) 987-8721

1184 Scott Street
Conyers, GA 30012

DISTRICT OFFICE

(770) 987-2291

(770) 987-8721

1184 Scott Street
Conyers, GA 30012

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

Building C Suite 322
Decatur, GA 30034

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(404) 447-7475

Building C Suite 322
Decatur, GA 30034

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Alexis Moore
Legislative Counsel

Agriculture

Brian Duckworth
Legislative Correspondent

Appropriations

Arthur Sidney
Chief of Staff

Alexis Moore
Legislative Counsel

Arts

Brian Duckworth
Legislative Correspondent

Banking

Glenn Miles
Congressional Aide; Scheduler

Budget

Brian Duckworth
Legislative Correspondent

Commerce

Alexis Moore
Legislative Counsel

Education

Brian Duckworth
Legislative Correspondent

Alexis Moore
Legislative Counsel

Energy

Arya Hariharan
Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Counsel

Environment

Brian Duckworth
Legislative Correspondent

Arya Hariharan
Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Counsel

Family

Sascha Herrera-Thompson
Special Assistant

Finance

Glenn Miles
Congressional Aide; Scheduler

Foreign

Sascha Herrera-Thompson
Special Assistant

Arya Hariharan
Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Counsel

Govt Ops

Brian Duckworth
Legislative Correspondent

Health

Arya Hariharan
Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Counsel

Homeland Security

Alexis Moore
Legislative Counsel

Housing

Glenn Miles
Congressional Aide; Scheduler

Immigration

Sascha Herrera-Thompson
Special Assistant

Judiciary

Alexis Moore
Legislative Counsel

Military

Arya Hariharan
Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Counsel

Public Works

Arya Hariharan
Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Counsel

Science

Brian Duckworth
Legislative Correspondent

Seniors

Brian Duckworth
Legislative Correspondent

Small Business

Brian Duckworth
Legislative Correspondent

Tax

Alexis Moore
Legislative Counsel

Telecommunications

Alexis Moore
Legislative Counsel

Transportation

Arya Hariharan
Legislative Director; Senior Legislative Counsel

Women

Sascha Herrera-Thompson
Special Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Hank Johnson
Votes: 208,861
Percent: 73.57%
J. Chris Vaughn
Votes: 75,041
Percent: 26.43%
2012 PRIMARY
Hank Johnson
Votes: 52,982
Percent: 76.96%
Courtney Dillard
Votes: 13,130
Percent: 19.07%
2010 GENERAL
Hank Johnson
Votes: 131,760
Percent: 74.67%
Lisbeth Carter
Votes: 44,707
Percent: 25.33%
2010 PRIMARY
Hank Johnson
Votes: 28,095
Percent: 55.18%
Vernon Jones
Votes: 13,407
Percent: 26.33%
Connie Stokes
Votes: 9,411
Percent: 18.48%
2008 GENERAL
Hank Johnson
Votes: 224,494
Percent: 99.91%
2008 PRIMARY
Hank Johnson
Votes: 47,439
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (75%), 2008 (100%), 2006 (75%)

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