Phil Gingrey

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Phil Gingrey
File:Phil gingrey.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 11th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by John Linder
Succeeded by Barry Loudermilk
Member of the Georgia Senate
In office
Personal details
Born John Phillip Gingrey
(1942-07-10) July 10, 1942 (age 76)
Augusta, Georgia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Billie Ayers
Children Billy
Laura Neill
Alma mater Georgia Institute of
Technology, Atlanta

Georgia Regents University
Religion Roman Catholicism

John Phillip "Phil" Gingrey, (born July 10, 1942) was the U.S. representative for Georgia's 11th congressional district from 2003 to 2015. He is a member of the Republican Party (GOP). The district is located in the northwestern suburbs of Atlanta.

On March 27, 2013, Gingrey announced he would be a candidate in the 2014 race for U.S. Senate for his state,[1] but he lost in the May 20, 2014 Republican primary, placing fourth.

Early life, education, and early political career

Gingrey was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia and graduated from Aquinas High School.[2] He received a bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Georgia Tech in 1965, and then attended Medical College of Georgia.[2] He then worked as an obstetrician. While at Georgia Tech, Gingrey was a driver of the Ramblin' Wreck mascot car.[3] He also became a member of the Gamma Alpha Chapter of the Sigma Nu Fraternity.[4]

Gringrey entered politics when he ran for the Marietta School Board, a body of which he was three times named chairman.[citation needed] He served two terms as a member of the Georgia State Senate from 1999 to 2003.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives


Georgia gained two districts after the 2000 Census, but the Democratic-controlled state legislature wanted to see more Democrats in the congressional delegation.[citation needed] They produced a map that was designed to elect seven Democrats and six Republicans; the delegation at the time consisted of eight Republicans and three Democrats.[citation needed] In the process, they drew Republicans Bob Barr and John Linder into the same district.[citation needed] The new district was numbered the 7th – Barr's former district number – but contained most of the territory in Linder's 11th District.[citation needed]

The remainder of Barr's former territory was renumbered the 11th and redrawn to include some Democratic-leaning rural territory northwest of Atlanta.[citation needed] It was also 28 percent black.[citation needed] Gingrey faced Democrat Roger Kahn, who had lost to Barr in 2000, and narrowly defeated him by three points.[citation needed]

The Republicans won control of the state legislature in 2004, and immediately redrew the district map again.[citation needed] In the process, they made the 11th much more Republican than its predecessor.[citation needed] The new 11th is more compact and extends further into the Atlanta suburbs, and is only 12 percent black.[citation needed] George W. Bush won the old 11th with 55 percent of the vote, but would have won the current 11th by a staggering 71 percent margin.[5] Gingrey won a third term with 70% of the vote, and was reelected with 68 percent of the vote in 2008.[citation needed]

After serving in the House for a while, Gingrey shaved off his mustache.


Gingrey is one of three OB/GYNs in the House of Representatives, the other two being fellow Republicans Michael Burgess of Texas and Phil Roe of Tennessee.[citation needed] He is a founding member and co-chairman of the GOP Doctors Caucus, a group of 20 health care providers in the House of Representatives. The Caucus utilizes their medical expertise to develop and advocate for patient-centered health care reforms focused on quality, access, affordability, portability, and choice.[6]

Stephen Colbert interviewed Gingrey on his Better Know a District segment. Colbert asked, "The war in Iraq. Great War – or the greatest war?" Gingrey responded that it may be the greatest war. Colbert asked Gingrey if he was a "Georgia peach" and Gingrey responded in the affirmative.[7]

In 2008 Gingrey signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes.[8]

Gingrey has depended heavily on political contributions from fellow physicians to finance his re-election campaigns. The American College of Radiology Association, Harbin Clinic, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American College of Cardiology were among his largest contributors in the 2004 election cycle.[citation needed] Gingrey has also received $30,000 from ARMPAC, former House Majority Leader's Tom DeLay's PAC.[citation needed] In the 2004 election cycle, ARMPAC was Gingrey's third largest contributor. After the Delay scandal, Gingrey returned all $30,000.[citation needed] According to during the 2008 election cycle AFLAC was Gingrey's top contributor and the insurance industry was in the top five industries to provide support.[9]

Potential conflict of interest

In November 2011, it was reported that Gingrey received stock benefits, potentially in violation of congressional ethics rules, from his role as an investor and board member of two Georgia banks.[10] One of these banks, Bank of Ellijay, failed in September 2010 and was taken over by regulators at a cost of $60 million to taxpayers.[11] Gingrey's office denied any conflicts of interests.[12] In December 2014, the House Ethics Committee publicly released findings that Gingrey had given special privilege to the Bank of Ellijay in TARP discussions, that Gingrey should not have aided the bank since it was not in his district, and that he was not compensated by the bank for the favors.[13]

Feud with Rush Limbaugh

Gingrey gained notoriety when he ran afoul of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh in January 2009 when he criticized an editorial comment wherein Limbaugh accused the Republican leadership of appeasing popular President Barack Obama. Limbaugh stated on his radio program that "He (Obama) is obviously more frightened of me (Limbaugh) than he is of Mitch McConnell. He's more frightened of me, than he is of say, John Boehner, which doesn't say much about our party." Gingrey then came to the defense of the Republican leaders, saying that Limbaugh should "back off" and further commenting "I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach. I mean, it's easy if you're Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don't have to try to do what's best for your people or your party." Gingrey's office was immediately flooded with complaints from Limbaugh's followers, and he promptly arranged to appear as a guest on the Limbaugh show and apologized, saying, "Rush, thank you so much. I thank you for the opportunity, of course this is not exactly the way to I wanted to come on. … Mainly, I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday to Politico. … I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth with some of those comments, and I just wanted to tell you, Rush, and all the 'conservative giants' who help us so much to maintain our base and grow it and get back this majority that I regret those stupid comments."[14]

Prior to the Gingrey/Limbaugh incident House Republicans had vowed to cooperate with Democrats on drafting the economic stimulus package.[15] One day after Gingrey was forced to apologize to Limbaugh a vote was taken on the stimulus package, with all 177 House Republicans voting against it. This prompted some to speculate that Limbaugh's castigation of Republican leaders, and subsequent cowing of Gingrey had put the fear of a potential Limbaugh-led conservative revolt against Republicans into the Representatives, causing them to withdraw any support for the package. Observers painted this as a dramatic demonstration of Limbaugh's influence on both the Republican base and the conservative American mind set.[16]

Yu-Fang controversy

In 2012, after chairman of the Taiwanese defense committee Lin Yu-fang rejected calls for more F-16 fighters and said that only the F-35 could ensure Taiwan's security,[17] Gingrey pressed an NDAA amendment to offer only the much older F-16 fighter to Taiwan.[18]

Todd Akin rape controversy

In an appearance before the Smyrna Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce on January 10, 2013, Gingrey, an OB-GYN since 1975, said former Republican representative Todd Akin was "partly right" when he said women's bodies can avoid pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." Of Akin, Gingrey said, "he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman's body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He's partly right on that." Gingrey continued, "And I've delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true."[19] Gingrey also said he didn’t “find anything so horrible” about distinguishing “legitimate rape” from non-legitimate rape, which he defined as a false accusation.[20] Gingrey also said, commenting on former Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock's unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid, “Mourdock basically said ‘Look, if there is conception in the aftermath of a rape, that’s still a child, and it’s a child of God, essentially.’ Now, in Indiana, that cost him the election."[21]

The next day, following the widespread circulation of Gingrey's comments in the media, his office released a statement that said, "In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued.”[22] The Associated Press reported, "Gingrey is co-chairman of the GOP Doctors Caucus, which was formed in March 2009 to challenge President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. He also is a member of the Health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce panel."[23]

Gender role education

In June of 2013, Gingrey attracted national attention when in the course of a speech defending his continued support of the Defense of Marriage Act he argued on the floor of the House that schools should hold special classes at a grade school level to teach children about traditional gender roles. "... have a class for the young girls and have a class for the young boys and say, you know, this is what’s important. This is what a father does that is maybe a little different, maybe a little bit better than the talents that a mom has in a certain area. And the same thing for the young girls, that, you know, this is what a mom does, and this is what is important from the standpoint of that union which we call marriage."[24]

Congressional and staff pay

In September of 2013, he received intense criticism by Republican congressional aides when he observed that many congressional aides – who initially are somewhat relatively low paid – go on to careers as major lobbyists in Washington, D.C.'s K Street area (or elsewhere) and can eventually make hundreds of thousands of dollars, implying that his own congressional salary (he said $172,000; it is actually $174,000, not including other benefits) was somehow inadequate. Meanwhile, his constituents in Georgia have a median household income of about $49,000.[25]

Ebola virus comments

In July of 2014, as concern over the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa was in the USA media, Gingrey wrote a letter to the USA CDC, stating "Reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning."[26] At the time, a report of illegal entrants carrying Ebola into the USA could have been identified as pure fabrication by a person familiar with the Ebola outbreak.[citation needed]

Committee assignments

Caucus leaderships

2014 U.S. Senate election

In March 2013, Gingrey officially announced he would run for the open senate seat vacated by Republican U.S. senator Saxby Chambliss.

Personal life

He is married to the former Billie Ayers; they have four children.[31]

See also


  1. "Rep. Phil Gingrey announces run for Senate". CBS Atlanta. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. "Ramblin' Reck History: A Story". From The Rumble Seat. 
  4. "Political Leaders". North American Interfraternity Conference. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  5. "Politics Home Page : Roll Call". 
  7. Better Know a District – Georgia's 11th – Phil Gingrey Colbert Nation, April 26, 2006
  9. Summary Phil Gingrey
  10. "Report: Gingrey's bank stock benefits may violate ethics rule". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 2011-11-10. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 
  11. "Special report: The congressman with banks on the side". Reuters. 2011-11-09. Retrieved 2011-11-19. 
  12. Trubey, J. Scott (November 10, 2011). "Report: Gingrey's bank stock benefits may violate ethics rule". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  13. Malloy, Daniel (December 11, 2014). "Ethics Committee finds Phil Gingrey improperly aided Ellijay bank". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  14. Congressman Phil Gingrey to Rush: "I Regret Those Stupid Comments" The Rush Limbaugh Show, January 28, 2009
  15. Dems, Republicans say they'll cooperate on stimulus, wars AP in the Tucson Citizen, January 6, 2009
  16. Limbaugh Cracks the Whip, and Republicans Get in Line Fox News, January 29, 2009
  17. "Taiwan needs advanced F-16 C/D jets: defense official." ROC Central News Agency, 2 May 2012.
  18. "U.S. Congress to debate sale of F-16 fighters to Taiwan." CNA, May 17, 2012.
  20. GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey, an ob-gyn, is under fire for comments on 'legitimate rape' and pregnancy Kristen A. Lee. New York Daily News. January 11, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2013
  21. Gingrey speaks out on the issue of 'legitimate rape' and guns Jon Gillooly. Marietta Daily Journal. January 11, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 3023.
  23. Republican: Akin `partly right' on rape comment Donna Cassata. Associated Press. Lexington Herald-Leader. January 11, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2013
  24. "Phil Gingrey calls for elementary school class on gender roles". 
  25. "Stock quotes, financial tools, news and analysis – MSN Money". 
  26. "Rep. Phil Gingrey says migrants may be bringing Ebola virus through the U.S.-Mexico border". @politifact. 
  27. "E&C Membership". United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  28. "Environment and the Economy". United States House Energy Subcommittee on Environment and Economy. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  29. "Health". United States House Energy Subcommittee on Health. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  30. "Oversight and Investigations". United States House Energy Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Linder
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 11th congressional district

Succeeded by
Barry Loudermilk