Jim Turner (politician)

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Jim Turner
Jim Turner.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by Charles Wilson
Succeeded by Ted Poe
Personal details
Born (1946-02-06) February 6, 1946 (age 69)
Fort Lewis, Washington
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Ginny Turner

James "Jim" Turner (born February 6, 1946), American politician, was the Democratic representative for the Texas 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 until 2005.

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Turner was born in Fort Lewis, Washington, but grew up in the small east Texas town of Crockett. He graduated from Crockett High School in 1964 as valedictorian and president of his class. He received his bachelor's and master’s degrees in business, and his law degree all from the University of Texas at Austin. At the University he was a member of the Student Assembly and president of the College of Business Council. While in law school he was an associate editor of the Texas Law Review and later served a clerkship with the Texas Supreme Court. Following graduation, he was commissioned in the U.S. Army, serving 8 years (active and reserve), attaining the rank of Captain. His legal career in Texas included his own law practice in his hometown of Crockett and his partnership in the Austin office of Hughes & Luce LLP.

State politics[edit]

Prior to being elected to Congress, Turner held several state and local offices. He was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1981 to 1984. From 1985 to 1987 Turner served as Chief of Staff and Chief Legislative Liaison to Texas Governor Mark Wells White. He was elected Mayor of Crockett, Texas and served from 1989 to 1991. He was elected to the Texas State Senate in 1990 and served from 1991 to 1996.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

After 2nd district congressman Charlie Wilson, who was known for his role in funding the resistance to Afghanistan's Communist government, decided not to run for a thirteenth term, Turner won the Democratic nomination to succeed him and was elected in November 1996. He was reelected three times. Congressman Turner was a member of the Armed Services Committee serving as Ranking Member of the Terrorism Subcommittee, and was later named the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, created after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the U.S.. His work was praised from members of both parties for his leadership on critical issues affecting U.S. security. A fiscally conservative Democrat, Turner co-chaired the Blue Dog Coalition and was a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He also served as Deputy Democratic Whip.

In 2003, Turner’s district was one of the five Democratic seats targeted by the highly controversial redistricting plan engineered by Republican Representative Tom DeLay. The Republican controlled Texas Legislature dismantled Turner’s district, which covered a large portion of East Texas stretching from Lufkin to the suburbs of Houston, and split its territory among three districts. The largest portion was shifted to the 8th District, represented by Republican Kevin Brady, who had been elected the same year as Turner. While Turner had represented more of the new 8th than Brady, most of the 8th's vote was cast in heavily Republican Montgomery County, which has as many people as the rest of the district combined. His home in Crockett was thrown into the Fort Worth/Arlington-based 6th district, an even more Republican area represented by ten-term incumbent Joe Barton. With only 4% of the population of his hometown and district in the new district Turner saw no realistic chance of staying in Congress, and chose not to run for a fifth term in 2004.

Post-political career[edit]

He was briefly mentioned as a candidate for governor of Texas or the United States Senate seat of Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2006.

In 2005, Turner joined the Washington office of Arnold & Porter, LLP where he is currently a senior partner and heads the firm’s Public Policy and Legislative Practice Group.[1] He continues his work on homeland security issues through various advisory groups at the Bipartisan Policy Center and George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Personal life[edit]

He and his wife, Ginny, were married in 1970. They have two children, John Turner and Susan Turner Nold, who are both attorneys in Texas.

Election history[edit]


Texas general election, 1994: Senate District 5[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Jim Turner (Incumbent) 82,541 55.99 -44.01
Republican Jerry T. Thornton 64,875 44.01 +44.01
Majority 17,666 11.98 -88.02
Turnout 147,416 +9.30
Democratic hold


Texas general election, 1992: Senate District 5[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Jim Turner (Incumbent) 134,875 100.00
Majority 134,875 100.00
Turnout 134,875
Democratic hold


  1. ^ "1994 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  2. ^ "1992 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Retrieved 2007-01-02. 

External links[edit]

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Emmett H. Whitehead
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from District 15 (Crockett)

Succeeded by
Mike McKinne
Texas Senate
Preceded by
Kent Caperton
Texas State Senator
from District 5 (Crockett)

Succeeded by
Steve Ogden
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles Wilson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Ted Poe