John Phillip "Phil" Gingrey, (born July 10, 1942, Augusta, Georgia) is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 11th congressional district, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district is located in the northwestern suburbs of Atlanta.
Early life, education and career
Gingrey grew up in Georgia and attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School. He received a bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Georgia Tech in 1965, and then attended Medical College of Georgia.
He then worked as an obstetrician. While at Georgia Tech Phil Gingrey was once a driver of the Ramblin' Wreck.
Gringrey first entered politics when he ran for the Marietta School Board, a body of which he was three times named chairman. He served two terms as a member of the Georgia State Senate from 1999 to 2003.
U.S. House of Representatives
Stephen Colbert interviewed Congressman Gingrey on his Better Know a District segment. Colbert asked, "The war in Iraq.
Great War — or the greatest war?" Gingrey responded that it may be the greatest war. Colbert asked Gingrey if he was a "Georgia peach" and Gingrey responded in the affirmative.
Gingrey gained notoriety when he ran afoul of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh in January 2009 when he criticized an editorial comment wherein Limbaugh accused the Republican leadership of appeasing popular President Barack Obama. Limbaugh stated on his radio program that "He (Obama) is obviously more frightened of me (Limbaugh) than he is of Mitch McConnell. He's more frightened of me, than he is of say, John Boehner, which doesn't say much about our party." Gingrey then came to the defense of the Republican leaders, saying that Limbaugh should "back off" and further commenting "I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach. I mean, it's easy if you're Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks.
You don't have to try to do what's best for your people or your party." Gingrey's office was immediately flooded with complaints from Limbaugh's followers, and he promptly arranged to appear as a guest on the Limbaugh show and apologized, saying, "Rush, thank you so much. I thank you for the opportunity, of course this is not exactly the way to I wanted to come on. … Mainly, I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday to Politico. … I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth with some of those comments, and I just wanted to tell you, Rush, and all the 'conservative giants' who help us so much to maintain our base and grow it and get back this majority that I regret those stupid comments."
Prior to the Gingrey/Limbaugh incident House Republicans had vowed to cooperate with Democrats on drafting the economic stimulus package. One day after Gingrey was forced to apologize to Limbaugh a vote was taken on the stimulus package, with all 177 House Republicans voting against it.
This prompted some to speculate that Limbaugh's castigation of Republican leaders, and subsequent cowing of Gingrey had put the fear of a potential Limbaugh-led conservative revolt against Republicans into the Representatives, causing them to withdraw any support for the package. Observers painted this as a dramatic demonstration of Limbaugh's influence on both the Republican base and the conservative American mind set.
Georgia gained two districts after the 2000 Census, but the Democratic-controlled state legislature wanted to see more Democrats in the congressional delegation. They produced a map that was designed to elect seven Democrats and six Republicans; the delegation at the time consisted of eight Republicans and three Democrats. In the process, they drew Republicans Bob Barr and John Linder into the same district. The new district was numbered the 7th — Barr's former district number — but contained most of the territory in Linder's 11th District.
The remainder of Barr's former territory was renumbered the 11th and redrawn to include some Democratic-leaning rural territory northwest of Atlanta.
It was also 28 percent black. Gingrey faced Democrat Roger Kahn, who had lost to Barr in 2000, and narrowly defeated him by three points.
The Republicans won control of the state legislature in 2004, and immediately redrew the district map again. In the process, they made the 11th much more Republican than its predecessor. The new 11th is more compact and extends further into the Atlanta suburbs, and is only 12 percent black. George W. Bush won the old 11th with 55 percent of the vote, but would have won the current 11th by a staggering 71 percent margin. Gingrey won a third term with 70% of the vote, and was reelected with 68 percent of the vote in 2008.
Gingrey is one of four OB/GYNs in the current House, the other three being fellow Republicans Michael Burgess and Ron Paul of Texas and Phil Roe of Tennessee.
Gingrey has depended heavily on political contributions from fellow physicians to finance his re-election campaigns. The American College of Radiology Association, Harbin Clinic, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American College of Cardiology were among his largest contributors in the 2004 election cycle.
Gingrey has also received $30,000 from ARMPAC, former House Majority Leader's Tom DeLay's PAC. In the 2004 election cycle, ARMPAC was Gingrey's third largest contributor. After the Delay scandal, Gingrey returned all $30,000.
According to opensecrets.org during the 2008 election cycle AFLAC was Gingrey's top contributor and the insurance industry was in the top five industries to provide support.
He is married to the former Billie Ayers; they have four children.
October 20th, 2011