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

Biography

Elected: May 1991, 11th full term.

Born: October 11, 1930, San Antonio, TX

Home: Plano, TX

Education: S. Methodist U., B.B.A. 1951, George Washington U., M.S. 1974

Professional Career: Home builder.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Methodist

Family: Married (Shirley L. Melton) , 3 children ; 10 grandchildren

Sam Johnson, a conservative Republican first elected in 1991, is the only remaining founder of the Republican Study Committee—the influential caucus of the House’s most conservative members—still serving in the chamber. He also has a prominent perch from which to weigh in on Social Security as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee panel that oversees the program.

Johnson grew up in Dallas and graduated from Southern Methodist University and George Washington University. He was a director of the Air Force Fighter Weapons (Top Gun) School, and as a fighter pilot, flew 87 combat missions during the wars in Korea and Vietnam. After his F-4 was shot down over North Vietnam during his 25th mission, he was imprisoned from 1966 to 1973 in the “Hanoi Hilton,” where he spent 42 months in solitary confinement and was forced into leg stocks for more than two years. He weighed 120 pounds upon his release, having subsisted on river weeds and pig fat, and was left with a slight stoop in his walk and a disfigured hand. “His scars bear witness to his tenacity and toughness,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a February 2013 speech honoring the 40th anniversary of his release. In 2009, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society gave Johnson its highest civilian honor, the National Patriots Award.

After his military service, Johnson started a homebuilding company and was elected to the Texas House in 1984. He was elected to Congress in a 1991 special election, after Republican Steve Bartlett resigned to become mayor of Dallas. Johnson ran second in the primary, behind former Peace Corps director Tom Pauken. In the runoff, he emphasized his war record and won 53%-47% over Pauken. He won the general election without difficulty.

Johnson is among the House’s most conservative members. He was a founder of the Conservative Action Team, the precursor to the Republican Study Committee, which has pressed Republican leaders to support goals ranging from a balanced budget amendment to shutting down the National Endowment for the Arts.

Johnson’s chief issue is taxation. Every two years, he offers a constitutional amendment to repeal the 16th Amendment, which authorized the federal income tax. He supported Boehner on most of the tax and spending-related measures of the 112th Congress (2011-12), but drew the line at the compromise to avert a so-called “fiscal cliff,” calling it “a bad bill that raises taxes on families and small businesses.” On Ways and Means, where he is the third-most senior Republican, Johnson in January 2011 raised the specter of the U.S. “corporate structure” incrementally relocating overseas to avoid U.S. rates if the tax code is not reformed. He also suggested that one goal should be requiring everyone, including lower-income earners, to pay income tax.

In 2012, he called for Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman to resign, contending the agency was helping illegal immigrants defraud the government. Johnson cited a report that found that people sought $4.2 billion in refundable child tax credits last year using IRS identification numbers, which are issued to non-citizens seeking tax refunds. He later joined a bipartisan working group on comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Earlier, he sponsored the successful repeal in 2000 of the earnings limit for Social Security recipients, and he was a leading proponent of pension reform that was enacted in 2006.

Johnson also focuses on military issues. He staunchly opposed setting arbitrary troop withdrawal deadlines in Afghanistan, and when President Barack Obama announced an economic aid plan for Egypt in May 2011, Johnson blasted the idea: “America has no business sending large sums of money to volatile nations in the Middle East that may end up with radical Islamists at the helm.” Johnson gained national attention in February 2007 when he spoke emotionally on the House floor against a plan by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi to set a timetable to withdraw from Iraq. Invoking his memories of Vietnam, he said, “I know what it’s like to be far from home and hear that your country and your Congress don’t care about you.” Even though he and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also a well-known Vietnam prisoner of war, shared a cell for 18 months, they have had a chilly political relationship. Johnson strongly backed Bush in the 2000 primaries, stating that McCain “cannot hold a candle to George Bush.”

On other defense matters, Johnson helped to enact the Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003, which doubled the death benefit for families of active service members who pass away and also reduced taxes for those families.

Johnson has never faced any political trouble, though speculation about his retirement has increased since he entered his 80s. He regularly draws GOP primary challengers who seek to get their name in front of the public for the day when he decides to retire.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4201

(202) 225-1485

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2304
Washington, DC 20515-4303

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4201

(202) 225-1485

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2304
Washington, DC 20515-4303

DISTRICT OFFICE

(469) 304-0382

(469) 304-0392

1255 West 15th Street Suite 170
Plano, TX 75075

DISTRICT OFFICE

(469) 304-0382

(469) 304-0392

1255 West 15th Street Suite 170
Plano, TX 75075

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(972) 424-9573

(972) 422-4797

7105 Havencrest Court
Plano, TX 75074

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

7105 Havencrest Court
Plano, TX 75074

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Sam Johnson
Unopposed
2012 PRIMARY
Sam Johnson
Votes: 33,592
Percent: 83.06%
Harry Pierce
Votes: 4,848
Percent: 11.99%
2010 GENERAL
Sam Johnson
Votes: 101,180
Percent: 66.29%
John Lingenfelder
Votes: 47,848
Percent: 31.35%
2010 PRIMARY
Sam Johnson
Votes: 40,661
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Sam Johnson
Votes: 170,742
Percent: 59.75%
Tom Daley
Votes: 108,693
Percent: 38.03%
2008 PRIMARY
Sam Johnson
Votes: 36,050
Percent: 86.93%
Harry Pierce
Votes: 3,466
Percent: 8.36%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (66%), 2008 (60%), 2006 (63%), 2004 (86%), 2002 (74%), 2000 (72%), 1998 (91%), 1996 (73%), 1994 (91%), 1992 (86%), 1991 special (53%)

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