All Southern Baptist members of Congress participating in the Nov. 8 election successfully defended their seats.
Three senators and 26 representatives – all members of Southern Baptist churches – won re-election. With three other senators who were not up for re-election, Southern Baptists will count at least 32 of their own in the Senate and House of Representatives when the next Congress convenes in January. Some Southern Baptists whom Baptist Press (BP) is unaware of may have been elected for the first time.
BP file photo by Adam Covington
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), shown here praying for the country during the National Call to Prayer at the 2016 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, was one of at least 32 Southern Baptist members of Congress elected or reelected last week.
Five Southern Baptist members of the House either retired, lost in a primary or fell short in races for other offices.
Reps. Randy Neugebauer of Texas and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia retired. Seven-term Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia failed to regain his seat when he fell short in the Republican primary. Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana failed to qualify Nov. 8 for the run-off for a Senate seat. Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana lost in the GOP primary for the Senate.
The three Southern Baptist senators who gained re-election are Sens. John Boozman of Arkansas, Roy Blunt of Missouri and James Lankford of Oklahoma.
Southern Baptists held 40 seats in Congress after the 2012 election, reaching what appears to have been the largest Southern Baptist contingent ever on Capitol Hill.
Following is a list, as compiled by BP, of the ballot results for members of Southern Baptist churches who sought re-election to Congress. (The vote totals are from Politico’s website, with the Associated Press as the source. Some races had more than two candidates on the ballot, but only the top two finishers are included in these results.)
Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman, Republican, seeking second term, First Baptist Church, Rogers, defeated Conner Eldridge, Democrat, 657,856-397,970, 60-36 percent.
Missouri: Sen. Roy Blunt, R, seeking second term, First Baptist Church, Branson, defeated Jason Kander, D, 1,370,240-1,283,222, 49-46 percent.
Oklahoma: Sen. James Lankford, R, seeking first full term, Quail Springs Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, defeated Mike Workman, D, 979,728-355,389, 68-25 percent.
House of Representatives
Arizona: Rep. Trent Franks, R, 8th District, seeking eighth term, North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, defeated Mark Salazar, Green, 165,593-75,963, 69-31 percent.
Arkansas: Rep. Rick Crawford, R, 1st District, seeking fourth term, Nettleton Baptist Church, Jonesboro, defeated Mark West, Libertarian, 183,068-56,200, 76-24 percent. Rep. Steve Womack, R., 3rd District, seeking fourth term, Cross Church, Pinnacle Hills, defeated Steve Isaacson, Libertarian, 214,268-62,793, 77-23 percent. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R, 4th District, seeking second term, Walnut Valley Baptist Church, Hot Springs, defeated Kerry Hicks, L, 181,9212-60,969, 75-25 percent.
Florida: Rep. Daniel Webster, R, 11th District, seeking fourth term, Church at the Cross, Orlando, defeated Dave Koller, D, 257,881-124,599, 65-32 percent. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R, 16th District, seeking seventh term, First Baptist Church, Sarasota, defeated Jan Schneider, D, 230,187-154,854, 60-40 percent.
Georgia: Rep. Austin Scott, R., 8th District, seeking fourth term, First Baptist Church, Tifton, defeated James Harris, D, 171,529-81,903, 68-32 percent. Rep. Doug Collins, R., 9th District, seeking third term, Lakewood BC, Gainesville, won in an uncontested race. Jody Hice, R, 10th District, seeking second term, Summit Baptist Church, Loganville, won in an uncontested race. Rep. Tom Graves, R, 14th District, seeking third term, Belmont Baptist Church, Calhoun, won in an uncontested race.
Kentucky: Rep. Harold Rogers, R, 5th District, seeking 19th term, First Baptist Church, Somerset, won in an uncontested race.
Mississippi: Rep. Gregg Harper, R, 3rd District, seeking fifth term, Crossgates Baptist Church, Brandon, defeated Dennis Quinn, D, 201,280-91,992, 66-30 percent.
Missouri: Rep. Sam Graves, R, 6th District, seeking ninth term, First Baptist Church, Tarkio, defeated David Blackwell, D, 236,938-98,598, 68-28 percent.
New Mexico: Rep. Steve Pearce, R, 2nd District, seeking seventh term, Taylor Memorial Baptist Church, Hobbs, defeated Merrie Soules, D, 142,499-84,514, 63-37 percent.
North Carolina: Rep. George Holding, R, 2nd District, seeking third term, Christ Baptist Church, Raleigh, defeated John McNeil, D, 219,342-167,299, 57-43 percent. Mark Walker, 6th District, seeking second term, Lawndale Baptist Church, Greensboro, defeated Pete Glidewell, D, 205,973-141,480, 59-41 percent.
Oklahoma: Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R, 1st District, seeking third term, South Tulsa Baptist Church, Tulsa, won in an uncontested race. Rep. Frank Lucas, R, 3rd District, seeking 13th term, First Baptist Church, Cheyenne, defeated Frankie Robbins, D, 227,276-63,008, 78-22 percent. Rep. Steve Russell, R, 5th District, seeking second term, First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, defeated Al McAffrey, D, 160,012-103,122, 57-37 percent.
South Carolina: Rep. Jeff Duncan, R, 3rd District, seeking fourth term, First Baptist Church, Clinton, defeated Hosea Cleveland, D, 196,793-72,993, 73-27 percent. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R, 4th District, seeking third term, First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, defeated Chris Fedalei, D, 197,235-91,106, 67-31 percent.
Texas: Rep. Louie Gohmert, R, 1st District, seeking seventh term, Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler, defeated Shirley McKellar, D, 192,066-62,635, 74-24 percent. Rep. Al Green, D, 9th District, seeking seventh term, Cullen Missionary Baptist Church, Houston, defeated Jeff Martin, R, 151,884-36,454, 81-19 percent. Rep. Mike Conaway, R, 11th District, seeking seventh term, First Baptist Church, Midland, defeated Nicholas Landholt, L, 201,476-23,613, 89-11 percent. Rep. Randy Weber, R, 14th District, seeking third term, Sagemont Baptist Church, Houston, defeated Michael Cole, D, 160,340-98,815, 62-38 percent. Rep. Bill Flores, R, 17th District, seeking fourth term, Central Baptist Church, Bryan, defeated William Matta, D, 149,197-86,352, 61-35 percent.
If you know of incoming Senate or House members who are members of Southern Baptist churches, please e-mail [email protected].
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)