Southern Baptists in Congress now 37

This story was updated Nov. 20, 2014.

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Southern Baptist representation in Congress dropped as a result of the Nov. 4 election.

The House of Representatives will include 31 Southern Baptists when the next Congress convenes in January. That will be three fewer than in the current House. The Senate will remain the same at six Southern Baptists, with one Southern Baptist replacing another.

Rep. James Lankford, who has served four years in the House, easily gained election to the Senate seat from Oklahoma vacated by a fellow Southern Baptist, Sen. Tom Coburn. Coburn announced in January he would step down at the end of the year, leaving two years remaining in his term.

Lankford, a Republican, outpolled Democrat Connie Johnson in the special election with 556,382 to 237,531 votes or 68 to 29 percent. Lankford, the GOP Policy Committee chairman in the House, was the director of the Falls Creek Youth Camp for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma for 13 years before his 2010 election to Congress. He is a member of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

In the House, Southern Baptist Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida lost in his re-election bid Nov. 4. Two others -- Reps. Paul Broun of Georgia and Steve Stockman of Texas -- failed in GOP primaries for the Senate earlier this year. Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas left his seat to run for lieutenant governor, a race he won. Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama retired, effective the end of this term. Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana left his membership in Community Baptist Church in South Bend, Ind., earlier this year.

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.

Baptist Press has learned of the following Southern Baptists, all Republicans, who won first-time election to the House:

-- Mark Walker won in North Carolina's 6th District, defeating Laura Fjeld, a Democrat, with 146,329 to 103,085 votes or 59 to 41 percent. Walker served for about 15 years in a variety of pastoral roles. Most recently, he was associate pastor of music and worship at Greensboro's Lawndale Baptist Church, where he is still a member.

-- Jody Hice took Georgia's 10th District seat, winning against Democrat Ken Dious with 130,572 to 65,676 votes or 67 to 33 percent. Hice served churches in Georgia for nearly 25 years, most recently as pastor of The Summit Church in Loganville. Hice remains a member of the church.

-- Steve Russell replaced Lankford in Oklahoma's 5th District by defeating Al McAffrey, a Democrat, with 95,557 to 57,721 votes or 60 to 36 percent. Russell is a member of First Southern Baptist Church in Del City.

-- Bruce Westerman defeated Democrat James Lee Witt to win the Fourth District race in Arkansas. Westerman gained 54 percent of the vote to Witt’s 42 percent with 110,163 votes to 87,335. Westerman is a member and deacon at Walnut Valley Baptist Church in Hot Springs.

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 CNN's website. Some races had more than two candidates on the ballot, but only the top two finishers are included.)


South Carolina: Lindsey Graham, Republican, seeking third term, Corinth Baptist Church, Seneca, defeated Brad Hutto, Democrat, 665,605-475,532, 54-39 percent.

House of Representatives

Arizona: Rep. Trent Franks, R., 2nd District, seeking seventh term, North Phoenix BC, Phoenix, defeated Stephen Dolgos, Americans Elect., 123,141-39,180, 76-24 percent.

Arkansas: Rep. Rick Crawford, R., 1st District, seeking third term, Nettleton BC, Jonesboro, defeated Jackie McPherson, D., 122,722-62,902, 63-32 percent. Rep. Steve Womack, R., 3rd District, seeking third term, Cross Church, Pinnacle Hills, defeated Grant Brand, Libertarian, 151,093-39,143, 79-21 percent.

Florida: Steve Southerland, R., 2nd District, seeking third term, Northstar Church, Panama City, lost to Gwen Graham, D., 122,939-125,132, 50-50 percent. Rep. Daniel Webster, R., 10th District, seeking third term, First BC of Central Florida, defeated Michael McKenna, D., 142,967-89,267, 62-38 percent. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R., 16th District, seeking sixth term, First BC, Sarasota, defeated Henry Lawrence, D., 168,990-105,357, 62-38 percent.

Georgia: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R., 3rd District, seeking sixth term, Orchard Hills Baptist Church, Newnan, won without any major party opposition, according to CNN. Rep. Austin Scott, R., 8th District, seeking third term, First BC, Tifton, won without any major party opposition, according to CNN. Rep. Doug Collins, R., 9th District, seeking second term, Lakewood BC, Lakewood, defeated David Vogel, D., 145,856-34,866, 81-19 percent. Rep. Tom Graves, R., 14th District, seeking second term, Belmont BC, Calhoun, won without any major party opposition, according to CNN.

Kentucky: Rep. Harold Rogers, R., 5th District, seeking 18th term, First BC, Somerset, defeated Kenneth Stepp, D., 171,080-47,617, 78-22 percent.

Louisiana: Rep. John Fleming, R., 4th District, seeking fourth term, First BC, Minden, defeated Randall Lord, L., 152,670-55,224, 73-27 percent.

Mississippi: Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R., 1st District, seeking third term, Calvary BC, Tupelo, defeated Ron Dickey, D., 101,451-43,039, 68-29 percent. Rep. Gregg Harper, R., 3rd District, seeking fourth term, Crossgates BC, Brandon, defeated Douglas Magee, D., 115,396-46,506, 69-28 percent.

Missouri: Rep. Sam Graves, R., 6th District, seeking eighth term, First BC, Tarkio, defeated Bill Hedge, D., 124,547-55,132, 67-29 percent.

New Mexico: Rep. Steve Pearce, R., 2nd District, seeking sixth term, Taylor Memorial BC, Hobbs, defeated Rocky Lara, D., 94,607-51,976, 65-35 percent.

North Carolina: Rep. George Holding, R., 13th District, seeking second term, Christ BC, Raleigh, defeated Brenda Cleary, D., 152,430-113,481, 57-43 percent.

Oklahoma: Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R., 1st District, seeking second term, South Tulsa BC, Tulsa, won without any major party opposition, according to CNN. Rep. Frank Lucas, R., 3rd District, seeking 12th term, First BC, Cheyenne, defeated Frankie Robbins, D., 133,070-36,112, 79-21 percent.

South Carolina: Rep. Jeff Duncan, R., 3rd District, seeking third term, First BC, Clinton, defeated Barbara Mullis, D., 116,021-46,556, 71-29 percent. Rep. Trey Gowdy, 4th District, seeking second term, First BC, Spartanburg, defeated Curtis McLaughlin, L., 125,930-21,849, 85-15 percent.

Texas: Rep. Louie Gohmert, R., 1st District, seeking sixth term, Green Acres BC, Tyler, defeated Shirley McKellar, D., 114,925-33,409, 77-23 percent. Rep. Al Green, D., 9th District, seeking sixth term, Cullen Missionary BC, Houston, defeated Johnny Johnson, L., 77,979-7,886, 91-9 percent. Rep. Mike Conaway, R., 11th District, seeking sixth term, First BC, Midland, defeated Ryan Lange, L., 107,752-11,607, 90-10 percent. Rep. Randy Weber, R., 14th District, seeking second term, Sagemont BC, Houston, defeated Don Brown, D., 89,876-52,420, 62-36 percent. Rep. Bill Flores, R., 17th District, seeking third term, Central BC, Bryan, defeated Nick Haynes, D., 85,085-42,696, 65-32 percent. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R., 19th District, seeking sixth term, First BC, Lubbock, defeated Neal Marchbanks, D., 89,701-21,350, 77-18 percent.

Virginia: Rep. Randy Forbes, R., 4th District, seeking seventh term, Great Bridge BC, Chesapeake, defeated Elliott Fausz, D., 121,134-75,214, 60-37 percent.

If you know of other incoming Senate or House members who are members of Southern Baptist churches, please e-mail

Compiled by Tom Strode, the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service.
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