Jimmy Duncan (politician)

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John J. Duncan, Jr.
John J. Duncan, official photo portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 2nd district
Assumed office
November 8, 1988
Preceded by John Duncan, Sr.
Personal details
Born John James Duncan, Jr.
(1947-07-21) July 21, 1947 (age 71)
Lebanon, Tennessee
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lynn Duncan
Residence Knoxville, Tennessee
Alma mater University of Tennessee, George Washington University
Occupation attorney, judge
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1970–1987[1]
Rank US military captain's rank.gif Captain[1]

John James "Jimmy" Duncan, Jr. (born July 21, 1947) is the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 2nd congressional district, serving since 1988. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district is based in Knoxville.

Early life, education, and legal career

Duncan was born in Lebanon, Tennessee. His "paternal grandparents were small farmers in Scott County, which in 1861 left Tennessee, refusing to follow the Volunteer State into the Confederacy, and declared itself 'the Free and Independent state of Scott.'"[2] Duncan's parents were Lois (Swisher) and John Duncan, Sr., who "hitchhiked into Knoxville with five dollars in his pocket,' and after an education at the University of Tennessee was elected mayor of Knoxville and then congressman."[2] The elder Duncan was also a co-owner of the Knoxville Smokies of the "Sally League," for which his son "was a batboy, a ball shagger, scoreboard operator, and, as a freshman at the University of Tennessee, the Smokies’ public-address announcer."[2] Duncan also worked as a grocery bagger and salesman at Sears while working his way through school. Duncan supported Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign, and sent the first paycheck he earned as a bagboy at the local A&P to the Goldwater campaign.[2]

Duncan graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1969 with a Bachelor of Journalism degree and subsequently received a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. in 1973 and was admitted to the bar that same year. He also served in the Army National Guard from 1970 to 1987. He was an attorney in private practice until he became a state court judge in Knox County, Tennessee, where he served from 1981 to 1988.

The Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law in Knoxville, TN was named after Jimmy Duncan.[3]

U.S. House of Representatives


He was first elected to Congress in 1988, in a special election to succeed his late father, John Duncan, Sr. and elected to the seat for a full term in his own right the same day. He has been re-elected every two years since then from a district that has been held continuously by Republicans (or their antecedents) since 1859, and by a Duncan since his father was first elected in 1964.[2] He has never faced a serious or well-funded challenge for reelection, and was reelected without major-party opposition from 1994 through 2000.


Duncan voted against authorizing the War in Iraq based on opposition to what he believed to be an unnecessary foreign involvement. He also opposed and voted against a June 2006 House declaration in support of the war.[4] He was one of the most conservative Republicans to do so.[5] Duncan later remarked that the Iraq War vote had been

a tough one for me. I have a very conservative Republican district. My Uncle Joe is one of the most respected judges in Tennessee: when I get in a really serious bind I go to him for advice. I had breakfast with him and my two closest friends and all three told me that I had to vote for the war. It’s the only time in my life that I’ve ever gone against my Uncle Joe’s advice. When I pushed that button to vote against the war back in 2002, I thought I might be ending my political career.[2]

Duncan was among only six Republicans to vote against funding for the Iraq War on May 24, 2007.[6] Duncan voted, along with three other Republicans, to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by April 2008 on July 12, 2007.[7]

On March 10, 2010, Duncan again joined three other Republicans in voting for the removal of troops from Afghanistan.[8] Duncan and Ron Paul were the only members of Congress to vote for the removal of troops from Afghanistan and against all recent bailout and stimulus bills.[9]

Duncan is a member of the Liberty Caucus (sometimes called the Liberty Committee), a group of libertarian-minded congressional Republicans.[10] Other members include Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, and Jeff Flake of Arizona. A former neighbor of his district, Zach Wamp of the 3rd district, also belonged to the group during his tenure in the House.[11] He voted against the Wall Street bailout. Duncan, in a column explaining his vote, stated he "thought it would be better in the long run not to adopt the socialist approach."[12] The American Conservative Union gave Duncan a 96% score for his voting record in 2013, higher than any other federal Representative in Congress from Tennessee.[13]

The Family Research Council has rated Duncan as a 92% or above since 2002[5] and the NRA has rated him in equally positive terms.[5] In 2012, Duncan received the number one spot in the 435-member House in the National Taxpayers Union’s (NTU) annual ranking of Congress, earning him the “Taxpayer Hero” award.

Duncan is a frequent contributor to Chronicles and The American Conservative, both magazines associated with the paleoconservative movement. He has also contributed to numerous trade publications and Capitol Hill newspapers. Duncan has also voiced public support for returning the gold standard.[14]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Duncan and his wife Lynn have four children and eight grandchildren.[15]

He is also the brother of Tennessee State Senator Becky Duncan Massey.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Once a Soldier... Always a Soldier" (PDF). Legislative Agenda. Association of the United States Army. 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Kauffman, Bill (2005-09-12) Volunteer Statesman, The American Conservative
  3. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/jan/19/judge-denies-lmus-request-to-force-aba-removal/#comments
  4. NWSource.com
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Vote-smart.org
  6. Bresnahan, John (2007-05-25). "McNerney Takes Tough Vote On The War". CBS News. The Politico.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll624.xml
  8. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2010/roll098.xml
  9. "17 courageous Congressmen voted against all bailouts | Republican Liberty Caucus". Rlc.org. 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2010-08-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "The Liberty Committee". Retrieved 2007-06-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Caldwell, Christopher (2007-07-22). "The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement-Administration, Anti-Medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2007-07-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Duncan, Jimmy (October 20, 2008). "Duncan Column on the Financial Bailout". Official House Site.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. http://www.conservative.org/legislative-ratings
  14. "Tennessee GOPer Floats Return to the Gold Standard". Salon. Dec 3, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "John Duncan – Personal Life".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Duncan, Sr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 2nd congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Nancy Pelosi
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Frank Pallone
D-New Jersey