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

Biography

Elected: July 2004, 6th full term.

Born: April 27, 1947, Wilson, NC

Home: Wilson, NC

Education: NC Central U., B.A. 1971, J.D. 1974

Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1974-88.

Ethnicity: Two or More Ethnicities

Religion: Baptist

Family: Divorced , 3 children

Democrat G.K. (George Kenneth) Butterfield, who won a special election in July 2004, rarely makes headlines but is considered an important behind-the-scenes strategist for both the Democratic leadership and the Congressional Black Caucus. He took over in 2015 as the Black Caucus' chairman.

Butterfield grew up in Wilson County, where his father was a dentist and the first black elected official in Wilson in the 20th century. His mother was a schoolteacher for 48 years. He got his bachelor’s and law degrees from North Carolina Central University. A civil rights lawyer, Butterfield took on many voting rights cases. As a Superior Court judge for 12 years, he handled thousands of civil and criminal cases in 46 counties until February 2001, when Democratic Gov. Michael Easley appointed him to the state Supreme Court. After Butterfield lost election in 2002 to a full term, Easley appointed him as a special Superior Court judge.

In the July 2004 special election to replace the retiring Democratic Rep. Frank Ballance, who later pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in the operation of his antidrug foundation, party caucuses selected the nominees, and the six-week contest in the safe Democratic district received little local or national attention. Butterfield said that his priorities would be strengthening the rural economy and halting U.S. job losses. He won 71%-27% and has not been seriously challenged since.

In the House, Butterfield has a liberal voting record, particularly on economic matters. One of his issues was settling claims of up to 74,000 African-American farmers who were unfairly discriminated against when applying for Agriculture Department loans and programs between 1983 and 2010. He lobbied to include anexhibit in the new Capitol Visitor Center on the slave labor that was employed in building the Capitol and on the careers of the 22 African-Americans who served in Congress during and after Reconstruction. He also pushed for renewal of the Voting Rights Act, noting that his father lost his seat on the local city council in 1957 because of a discriminatory voting law change. He pressed Obama administration officials in early 2013 for the appointment of an African-American federal judge for North Carolina’s Eastern District, which covers the eastern third of the state and where more than one-quarter of the population is black.

A longtime friend of Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, Butterfield managed his successful campaign for majority whip in 2006. Butterfield subsequently became a chief deputy whip under Clyburn and kept the position in 2011 when Democrats reorganized after losing majority control of the House. In 2009, Butterfield also became secretary of the Black Caucus, an influential faction in the House, moved up to second vice chair two years later, and first vice chair two years after that. He has been less confrontational toward President Barack Obama than other CBC members and, along with Clyburn, was one of six in the group who supported the president’s 2010 bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With his connections to the leadership, Butterfield got a seat in 2007 on the influential Energy and Commerce Committee, where he has worked to prohibit states from passing on their Medicaid costs to counties. In his district, many counties spend more of their property-tax revenues on Medicaid than on public schools. He worked with Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, to get into law in 2012 a bill allowing pharmaceutical companies to receive faster Food and Drug Administration reviews of profitable drugs in return for developing treatments for rare pediatric diseases.

In 2009, he persuaded then-Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to ensure that more of the revenue from the Democrats’ proposed cap-and-trade system of carbon emissions swapping would be used to help low-income areas. However, the bill stalled in the Senate. He joined Waxman in pushing back against GOP claims that the Consumer Product Safety Commission was harming manufacturers, citing surveys showing strong public support for the agency.

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics investigated Butterfield and five other House members after The Wall Street Journal reported in March 2010 that the members did not return unused portions of their travel allowances. But the House Ethics Committee in January 2011 declined to take action against the members. The Washington Post reported in February 2012 that Butterfield helped secure $817,500 in federal funding for downtown development and revitalization projects located within a mile of 19 properties he owns in Wilson. He said in response that he sought the funding at the city’s request.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-3101

(202) 225-3354

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2305
Washington, DC 20515-3301

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-3101

(202) 225-3354

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2305
Washington, DC 20515-3301

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-3101

(202) 225-3354

216 North East Nash Street Suite B
Wilson, NC 27893-3802

DISTRICT OFFICE

(252) 237-9816

(252) 291-0356

216 North East Nash Street Suite B
Wilson, NC 27893-3802

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-3101

(202) 225-3354

411 West Chapel Hill Street Suite 905
Durham, NC 20515-3616

DISTRICT OFFICE

(919) 908-0164

(919) 908-0169

411 West Chapel Hill Street Suite 905
Durham, NC 20515-3616

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

2407 Bel Air Avenue
Wilson, NC 27893

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-3101

(202) 225-3354

2407 Bel Air Avenue
Wilson, NC 27893

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

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Abortion

Jordun Lawrence
Press Assistant

Agriculture

Kyle Parker
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Edward Hill
Legislative Assistant

Budget

Dennis Sills
Senior Legislative Assistant

Edward Hill
Legislative Assistant

Jordun Lawrence
Press Assistant

Campaign

Kyle Parker
Legislative Assistant

Troy Clair
Chief of Staff

troy.clair@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-3101

Census

Troy Clair
Chief of Staff

troy.clair@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-3101

Crime

Dollie Burwell
Director-Constituent Affairs

dollieb@mail.house.gov
(919) 908-0164

Disaster

Dollie Burwell
Director-Constituent Affairs

dollieb@mail.house.gov
(919) 908-0164

Education

Dennis Sills
Senior Legislative Assistant

Rosena Ricks
Caseworker

Energy

Dennis Sills
Senior Legislative Assistant

Environment

Dennis Sills
Senior Legislative Assistant

Finance

Edward Hill
Legislative Assistant

Jordun Lawrence
Press Assistant

Foreign

Kyle Parker
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Edward Hill
Legislative Assistant

Cammie Britton
Caseworker

Rosena Ricks
Caseworker

Health

Saul Hernandez
Legislative Director; Deputy Chief of Staff

Dollie Burwell
Director-Constituent Affairs

dollieb@mail.house.gov
(919) 908-0164

Homeland Security

Kyle Parker
Legislative Assistant

Dollie Burwell
Director-Constituent Affairs

dollieb@mail.house.gov
(919) 908-0164

Immigration

Dollie Burwell
Director-Constituent Affairs

dollieb@mail.house.gov
(919) 908-0164

Intelligence

Kyle Parker
Legislative Assistant

Intergovernmental

Dollie Burwell
Director-Constituent Affairs

dollieb@mail.house.gov
(919) 908-0164

Judiciary

Kyle Parker
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Dennis Sills
Senior Legislative Assistant

Rosena Ricks
Caseworker

Medicare

Cammie Britton
Caseworker

Military

Kyle Parker
Legislative Assistant

Rosena Ricks
Caseworker

Native Americans

Dennis Sills
Senior Legislative Assistant

Rules

Troy Clair
Chief of Staff

troy.clair@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-3101

Science

Dennis Sills
Senior Legislative Assistant

Small Business

Edward Hill
Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Cammie Britton
Caseworker

Tax

Edward Hill
Legislative Assistant

Troy Clair
Chief of Staff

troy.clair@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-3101

Dollie Burwell
Director-Constituent Affairs

dollieb@mail.house.gov
(919) 908-0164

Telecommunications

Saul Hernandez
Legislative Director; Deputy Chief of Staff

Trade

Edward Hill
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Dennis Sills
Senior Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Kyle Parker
Legislative Assistant

Rosena Ricks
Caseworker

Women

Jordun Lawrence
Press Assistant

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
G.K. Butterfield
Votes: 150,529
Percent: 73.35%
Arthur Rich
Votes: 54,692
Percent: 26.65%
2012 GENERAL
G.K. Butterfield
Votes: 254,644
Percent: 75.32%
Peter DiLauro
Votes: 77,288
Percent: 22.86%
2012 PRIMARY
G.K. Butterfield
Votes: 89,531
Percent: 81.13%
Dan Whittacre
Votes: 20,822
Percent: 18.87%
2010 GENERAL
G.K. Butterfield
Votes: 103,294
Percent: 59.31%
Ashley Woolard
Votes: 70,867
Percent: 40.69%
2010 PRIMARY
G.K. Butterfield
Votes: 46,509
Percent: 72.93%
Chad Larkins
Votes: 17,262
Percent: 27.07%
2008 GENERAL
G.K. Butterfield
Votes: 192,765
Percent: 70.28%
Dean Stephens
Votes: 81,506
Percent: 29.72%
2008 PRIMARY
G.K. Butterfield
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (59%), 2008 (70%), 2006 (100%), 2004 (64%), 2004 special (71%)

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