|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 10th district
July 17, 2007 – January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Charlie Norwood|
|Succeeded by||Jody Hice|
|Born||Paul Collins Broun, Jr.
May 14, 1946
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Niki Broun (3 previous)|
|Alma mater||University of Georgia
Georgia Regents University
Paul Collins Broun, Jr. (born May 14, 1946) was the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 10th congressional district, serving from 2007 to 2015. He is a member of the Republican Party and the Tea Party Caucus. On February 6, 2013, Broun announced that he planned to run for the U.S. Senate in the 2014 Georgia election being vacated by Saxby Chambliss, but lost in the May 20, 2014 Republican primary. Broun left office on January 3, 2015.
Early life, education, and medical career
Broun was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Gertrude Margaret (née Beasley) and Democratic Georgia state senator Paul Collins Broun, Sr. (1916–2005), who represented Athens and the surrounding area from 1963 to 2001. His paternal grandfather was a minister. Broun is a graduate of Athens High School and the University of Georgia at Athens (B.S., Chemistry, 1967) and earned his Doctor of Medicine (1971) from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. His internship was at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon and residency at University Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. He then practiced general medicine; starting in 2002 he maintained a practice based solely on house calls.
In 1996, Democratic U.S. Senator Sam Nunn decided to retire. Broun was one of six Republicans who ran for the Republican nomination in the race. Broun finished fourth, with 3% of the vote. Guy Millner, a businessman, finished first with 42% of the vote. He won the run-off election against state representative Johnny Isakson, who had received 35% of the vote in the primary, then lost the general election to Democrat Max Cleland by just one percentage point.
U.S. House of Representatives
In February 2007, Republican U.S. Congressman Charlie Norwood, of Georgia's 10th congressional district, died of cancer. Broun announced his candidacy before Dr. Norwood passed. There was a special election open primary in June 2007, where candidates of all parties participated in the primary. A candidate needed 50% to win outright, and there would be a run-off if no candidate earned it the first time. Ten candidates filed: six Republicans, three Democrats, and a Libertarian. State Senator Jim Whitehead was the only elected politician to run, and was the front-runner. He won the endorsement of Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).
In the primary, Whitehead finished first with 44% of the vote. Broun qualified for the run-off, ranking second with 21% of the vote, with only 198 votes more than third-place finisher James Marlow, a Democrat. Broun won a plurality of just four counties: Oconee (47%), Jackson (42%), Oglethorpe (37%), and Morgan (31%).
In the runoff campaign, Whitehead angered some voters by failing to appear at a debate held in Athens and then by referring to his alma mater, the University of Georgia, as a "liberal bastion" that should be eliminated, save for the football team. In the July 17, 2007 election, Broun upset Whitehead by a margin of just 0.8%, a difference of just 394 votes. After the votes were certified, Whitehead declined to ask for a recount despite the narrow margin. Broun won the counties in the Northern part of the district, while Whitehead won the counties in the southern part. Broun's best two performing counties were Clarke (90%) and Oconee (88%).
Broun was challenged by Republican State Representative and House Majority Leader Barry Fleming, who had endorsed Whitehead in the 2007 election. Broun defeated Fleming in the July 2008 primary, 71%-29%. He won every county in the district. However, his weakest performance was in the Southeastern part. He won counties like Richmond with just 52% and Columbia with just 58%. He won the general election with 61% to 39% against Democrat Bobby Saxon.
In November 2011, Republican Mac Collins, who had represented much of Middle Georgia in Congress a decade earlier, said he was likely to challenge Broun in 10th District, newly redrawn because of redistricting. In May 2012, Collins decided he would not challenge Broun.
In July, Broun won the Republican primary, defeating retired Army officer Stephen Simpson. Broun faced no Democratic candidate in the November general election.
Even without an opponent, Broun's re-election came with controversy. A leaked video of a speech given at Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman's Banquet on September 27, shows Broun telling supporters that, “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell.” In addition, Broun also believes that the world is less than 9000 years old and was created in six literal days. In response to these remarks, coupled with Broun being on the House Science Committee, libertarian radio talk show host Neil Boortz spearheaded a campaign to run the English naturalist and evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin against Broun, with the intention of drawing attention to these comments from the scientific community and having Broun removed from his post on the House Science Committee.
Broun won re-election on November 6, 2012, receiving 209,917 votes across the district. Charles Darwin received about 4000 write-in ballots in Athens-Clarke County as protest votes against Broun's views on evolution, while Broun received 16,980 votes in that county.
On July 25, 2007, Broun was sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On January 3, 2013, Broun declined to vote for John Boehner's re-election as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, instead nominating outspoken Florida Representative Allen West, even through West lost his bid for re-election in November 2012 and was no longer a member of Congress. According to Politico reporter Charlie Mahtesian, Broun has "a flair for the provocative."
Broun is a political conservative. In May 2009, Broun proposed legislation that would have proclaimed 2010 "The Year Of The Bible". He also introduced a bill to ban the sale or rental of sexually explicit materials on U.S. military installations.
In 2008, Broun and 91 co-sponsors introduced H.J.Res.89, a proposition for the Federal Marriage Amendment. The proposed amendment to the United States Constitution would define marriage as "as consisting only of the union of a man and a woman." Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and eight other senators introduced a proposition for the amendment with S.J.Res.43 on June 25.
Broun's voting record is fiscally conservative receiving a 96% rating from the National Taxpayers Union and supports a balanced-budget amendment to the constitution. Broun is extremely concerned with the size of the national deficit and supports an amendment that would require a two-thirds majority in congress to raise revenues and require that all excess revenue to be returned to the American taxpayer. Broun also voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and decries the high cost of the bill.
Broun, in September 2008, voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which created the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or "TARP". In line with his conservative ideology, Broun voted against the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009.
Broun supports the repeal of ObamaCare, and instead takes a “common sense” approach to healthcare reform favoring a series of reforms over a comprehensive overhaul. His approach involves a 100% tax deduction of healthcare costs, allowing consumers to shop for health insurance across state lines, and the privatization of Medicare. Although Broun is an MD, he receives a 0% rating from more than three quarters of health issues interest groups.
On January 3, 2013, Broun introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2013 (H.R. 24; 113th Congress), a bill that would direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to prepare, within 12 months of enactment, an audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve Banks. Broun said that "this is a vital piece of legislation that will help to usher in a new era of transparency in this nation's monetary policy." Broun argued that because Congress created the Federal Reserve, "it must therefore be subject to the oversight and regulation of Congress."
Broun supported efforts to defund Obamacare during the October, 2013 U.S. federal government shutdown, calling it "a stand for principles that would lead to prosperity for all Americans as they fought to dismantle the president’s health care law." According to Broun, "It was the fight that Americans had been waiting and hoping for...the majority of Americans applauded our efforts and encouraged us to stand strong", although a CBS News poll reported that 72 percent of Americans disapproved of shutting down the federal government over differences on the Affordable Care Act. In the wake of the shutdown during an interview on the Michael Opitz Show, Broun asserted that "There was absolutely no reason, whatsoever, for this administration to block access to the World War II Memorial or the Lincoln Memorial. It’s never ever been done in a government shutdown prior to this administration doing so”, although the Lincoln Memorial was closed during a 1995 government shutdown and the World War II Memorial, which opened in 2004, had not existed at the time of any previous shutdown.
In February 2014, at a Republican debate in Gainesville, Broun pointed out that the United States must support Israel. "“It’s absolutely imperative that we support Israel -- our brothers and sisters in the Middle East -- not only because of the geopolitical reasons there, which are strong enough in themselves, but because of a promise God made to Abraham,” he said.
On November 10, 2008, one week after the 2008 presidential election, Broun drew national attention when he criticized President-elect Barack Obama's call for a civilian national service corps, suggesting that Obama might use it to establish a Marxist dictatorship. In an interview with the Associated Press, Broun said, "That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did. When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist." Broun later clarified his statement by saying, "We can't be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential of going down that road." Broun cited a July 2008 speech by Obama in which the then-Democratic presidential candidate had said, "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."
A spokesman for Obama indicated that he had been referring to a civilian reserve corps intended to handle postwar reconstruction efforts in foreign locations, such as rebuilding infrastructure. The Bush administration had endorsed that idea, and a Civilian Response Corps, described as similar to the one proposed by Obama, was formed in 2006 by the Bush Administration after a bipartisan Congressional vote.
The following day, November 11, Broun issued a statement, saying on WGAC radio, "I regret putting it that way," and "I apologize to anyone who has taken offense at that." Broun nevertheless asserted that Obama "is extremely liberal" and "has promoted a lot of socialistic ideas, and it just makes me concerned." His remarks in the radio interview were at first interpreted in the press as an apology. However, Broun's office later said he was "not taking back anything he said" and a spokeswoman said, "We have not issued any official apology” for the remarks. The spokeswoman said Broun stood by a written statement he had issued in which he criticized Obama for having "socialist views" and raised what the Atlanta Journal Constitution described as "ominous concerns" about the civilian force. The news release read in part, "I firmly believe that we must not fall victim to the 'it can't happen here' mentality. I adhere to the adage 'eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.'" Broun also said that his comments had been sensationalized by the media.
Some of Broun's fellow lawmakers criticized his remarks. Republican U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss both expressed disagreement with his comments, while state Democratic Party spokesman Martin Matheny accused Broun of "playing to the extremes" at a time “when Americans are coming together to celebrate history and renew America's promise." and that "Broun's neo-McCarthyism has no place in today's political environment."
On October 14, 2009, Broun joined with three fellow Representatives in calling for the investigation of CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) over allegations of trying to plant "spies," based on a CAIR memo indicating that they "will develop national initiatives such as Lobby Day, and placing Muslim interns in Congressional offices." Broun further implied CAIR had involvement with terrorism, stating, "If an organization that is connected to or supports terrorists is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related congressional offices, I think this needs to be made known."  The request came in the wake of the publication of a book, Muslim Mafia, the foreword of which had been penned by Congresswoman Sue Myrick, that portrayed CAIR as a subversive organization allied with international terrorists.
CAIR has countered that accusations against them are "unfounded" and that such initiatives are extensively used by all advocacy groups. A CAIR representative has accused Broun and his colleagues of being "hate-filled" and of seeking to intimidate American Muslims who "take part in the political process and exercise their rights."
In June 2009, Broun received a standing ovation from Republicans when he said that global warming is a "hoax". He said "Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus."
When Broun spoke in June 2010 to the John Birch Society, he said that the entire concept of man-made global warming is a conspiracy perpetuated by certain members of the scientific community to "destroy America.". These views are at odds with the scientific community.
In a March 2010 interview with Sirius XM radio host Pete Dominick, Broun said "I don't know" when asked if President Obama was a US citizen and when asked if President Obama was a Christian he said, “I don’t know that,” Broun responded, explaining that “I’m a Christian but only me and the Lord know that for sure.” He also said that he did know Obama was a socialist, and said “America has to stand up and decide if we want to be a socialist nation or if we’re going to be a free nation." During President Obama's 2011 State of the Union address, Broun tweeted that "Mr. President, you don't believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism."
In September 2010 at a town hall meeting held at the Elberton Civic Center in Elberton, Georgia, Broun said that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta "...want to give all the power to the federal government to force you to eat more fruits and vegetables. This is what the federal, CDC, they gonna be calling you to make sure you eat fruits and vegetables, every day. This is socialism of the highest order!"
In a town hall meeting on February 22, 2011, Broun was asked by an unidentified elderly man, "Who is going to shoot Obama?" The question was apparently met with laughter. Broun did not directly address the question, but instead responded with, "The thing is, I know there's a lot of frustration with this president. We're going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we'll elect somebody that's going to be a conservative, limited-government president ... who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare."
Broun, who later that week condemned the question, contested the quoted response originally reported by the Athens Banner-Herald. According to his press secretary, Broun immediately moved on to the next question.
The incident prompted a brief investigation by the Secret Service, who days later confirmed that the constituent did not pose a threat and had "acted in poor taste," concluding that the incident was a "closed matter."
Broun said regarding political correctness, "Well, Shannon, what happened at the airport is, uh, an elderly lady walked -- ah, followed me behind in the [TSA] screening process, and she was patted down. A little kid was patted down. And this guy in Arabian attire just walks right through." He argued that lives and money could be saved by "intelligence" and less "political correctness".
On September 27, 2012, in a speech at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman's Banquet, Broun stated that the sciences of embryology, evolution, and the Big Bang are "lies straight from the Pit of Hell ... lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior." This position is in support of his stance supporting Young Earth creationism. In the speech he also said that, "Earth is about 9,000 years old," that "it was created in six days as we know them," and that mainline Christian denominations are "going to send their people to hell".
Science educator Bill Nye questioned Broun's ability to serve on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, stating, '"Since the economic future of the United States depends on our tradition of technological innovation, Representative Broun's views are not in the national interest"' and that '"He is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology."'
- Committee on Homeland Security
- Committee on Science and Technology
2014 U.S. Senate election
In February 2013, Broun officially announced he would run for the open senate seat vacated by Republican U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss. Broun finished fifth in the May Republican primary. Because Georgia does not have a Favorite Son law, Broun's defeat made him ineligible to seek reelection in the House for 2014.
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Dr. Broun has been married to his wife Niki since 1985 and has two grown daughters, a son and two grandchildren.
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|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 10th congressional district