Gary Palmer (politician)

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Gary Palmer
Gary Palmer official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded bySpencer Bachus
Personal details
Gary James Palmer

(1954-05-14) May 14, 1954 (age 65)
Hackleburg, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Ann Palmer
EducationUniversity of Alabama (BS)
WebsiteHouse website

Gary James Palmer (born May 14, 1954) is an American politician from the state of Alabama. Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2014, he represents Alabama's 6th congressional district. The district includes the wealthier portions of Birmingham, as well as most of that city's suburbs. Prior to his career as an elected official, Palmer co-founded and served as the long-time president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank.[1] He is a member of the Republican Party and the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives.[2]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Palmer was born in Hackleburg, Alabama.[3] He has a bachelor's degree in operations management from the University of Alabama.[4] In 1989, Palmer co-founded the Alabama Family Alliance, which later became the Alabama Policy Institute. Palmer served as president of the conservative think tank for 25 years, stepping down in 2014 to pursue a run for Congress.[5] Palmer helped found the State Policy Network, a nonprofit umbrella organization for conservative and libertarian think tanks which focus on state-level policy, and served as its president.[6]

Palmer is a longtime member of Briarwood Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Church in America) in Birmingham.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2014 election[edit]

Palmer declared his candidacy for the 6th district following the retirement announcement of 11-term incumbent Spencer Bachus.[4] In the Republican primary election—the real contest in this heavily Republican district—Palmer finished second behind state representative Paul DeMarco. In the ensuing runoff election, Palmer picked up the support of the Club for Growth.[7] Palmer won the runoff election by a margin of 64% to 36%.[8] In the November 4, 2014 general election, Palmer defeated Democratic nominee Mark Lester, a history professor at Birmingham-Southern College, 76% to 24%.[9] However, he had effectively clinched a seat in Congress with his primary victory. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+28, the 6th was tied with the neighboring 4th as the most Republican district in Alabama and the second-most Republican district in the Eastern Time Zone. Since it assumed its current configuration as a mostly suburban district in 1992, a Democrat has only crossed the 30 percent mark once.


Palmer took office on January 3, 2015, along with the other freshmen members of the 114th Congress.

Conservative Review has graded Palmer's voting record an A with a Liberty Score of 100%. Palmer is one of only three Republican representatives to receive this highest possible grade out of 247 Republicans in the House of Representatives.[10]

Committee assignments[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Tax policy[edit]

Palmer voted in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[12] He says that the tax plan would "put more money in the pockets of the American people" and "launch economic growth." He blamed the Obama administration and a "burdensome tax code that was designed for a 1986 economy," for an "anemic" economy.[13]


Palmer opposes legal abortion and says that the Declaration of Independence was pro-life in its statements on "all men" having "unalienable Rights" to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."[14]

Drug policy[edit]

Palmer voted to support medical marijuana research but is opposed to legalizing marijuana.[14]

LGBT issues[edit]

Palmer supports bathroom bills. He stated that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice is something "no reasonable person" would allow and said that "the safety implications for sexual predation have been well documented."[15]

He also opposes same-sex marriage stating that "No one can change the fundamental nature of what marriage is: the union of a man and a woman and the formation of a family which is the foundation of every civilization."[16]

Electoral history[edit]

Alabama's 6th Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Paul DeMarco 30,894 32.68
Republican Gary Palmer 18,655 19.73
Republican Scott Beason 14,451 15.29
Republican Chad Mathis 14,420 15.25
Republican Will Brooke 13,130 13.89
Republican Tom Vigneulle 2,397 2.54
Republican Robert Shattuck 587 0.62
Alabama's 6th Congressional District Republican Primary Runoff Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer 47,524 63.00
Republican Paul Demarco 27,329 37.00
Alabama's 6th Congressional District Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer 135,945 76.18
Democratic Mark Lester 42,291 23.70
Write-ins Write-ins 213 0.12
Alabama's 6th Congressional District Election, 2016[17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Gary Palmer 245,313 74.49
Democratic David Putman 83,709 25.42
Write-ins Write-ins 284 0.09


  1. ^ Cason, Mike (October 24, 2013). "Gary Palmer announces he will run for Congress in Alabama's 6th congressional district". Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Bialik, Carl; Bycoffe, Aaron (September 25, 2015). "The Hard-Line Republicans Who Pushed John Boehner Out". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Gary Palmer announces he will run for Congress in Alabama's 6th congressional district". Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  5. ^ Moseley, Brandon (September 2014). "Crosby to Replace Palmer at API". Alabama Political Reporter. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  6. ^ Barnes, Fred (May 22, 2014). "A Conservative Candidate of Character, Conviction, Knowledge, and Leadership". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  7. ^ "Gary Palmer Marks Second Chance for Club for Growth in Alabama Race". At the Races. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  8. ^ "Gary Palmer swamps Paul DeMarco in 6th District Republican runoff". Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  9. ^ "Gary Palmer victorious in Alabama's 6th congressional district race". Shelby County Reporter. November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  10. ^ "Conservative Review - Scorecard". Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  11. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  12. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  13. ^ Kirby, Brendan (December 20, 2017). "Tax cuts will create 4,600 Alabama jobs, raise family income across the state by $519, study says - Yellowhammer News". Yellowhammer News. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Underwood, Madison. "Abortion, marijuana, and same-sex marriage: District 6 candidates state their positions". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  15. ^ Koplowitz, Howard. "'They have lost their minds': Roby, Palmer blast Obama administration over transgender student bathroom guidance". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  16. ^ Koplowitz, Howard. "SCOTUS gay marriage ruling: Alabama congressional delegation widely pans same-sex marriage decision". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  17. ^

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Spencer Bachus
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 6th congressional district

Party political offices
Preceded by
Luke Messer
Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Dan Newhouse
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
John Ratcliffe