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Sanford Bishop

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sanford Bishop
Sanford Bishop.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 1993
Preceded byCharles Hatcher
Member of the Georgia Senate
from the 15th district
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byGary Parker
Succeeded byEd Harbison
Member of the Georgia House of Representatives
from the 94th district
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1991
Preceded byC. Ed Berry
Succeeded byBill Lee
Personal details
Sanford Dixon Bishop Jr.

(1947-02-04) February 4, 1947 (age 74)
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Vivian Creighton
ResidenceAlbany, Georgia, U.S.
EducationMorehouse College (BA)
Emory University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1968–1971

Sanford Dixon Bishop Jr. (born February 4, 1947) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 2nd congressional district, serving since 1993. He became the dean of Georgia's congressional delegation following the death of John Lewis. As a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, he belongs to the conservative faction of the Democratic Party. His district is located in the southwestern part of the state and includes Albany, Thomasville, and most of Columbus and Macon.

Early life, education, and legal career

Bishop was born in Mobile, Alabama to Minnie B. Slade and Sanford Dixon Bishop,[1] who was the first president of Bishop State Community College. Bishop obtained a B.A. degree from Morehouse College in 1968 with majoring in political science and minoring in English, and a J.D. degree from Emory University School of Law in 1971.[2][3] While at Morehouse, he was a classmate of Herman Cain. He served in the United States Army between 1969 and 1971.[4] After receiving his honorable discharge, Bishop operated a law firm in Columbus, Georgia.

He has received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), given to Eagle Scouts for distinguished career achievement.[5][6] He is a member of BSA's Order of the Arrow (OA) and as a youth was on the OA ceremonies team.[5] He is a resident of Albany, Georgia, where he is a member of the Mount Zion Baptist Church. Bishop is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, initiated at Morehouse's Pi chapter.[7] Bishop is a Shriner and 33° Mason.[8]

In October 2013, Bishop announced he was diagnosed as having lymph node cancer after discovering a lump in near the base of his neck. By January 2014, he said that he was cancer free.[9][10]

Georgia legislature

He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1977, where he remained until being elected to the Georgia Senate in 1990.

U.S. House of Representatives



After only one term in the state senate, he ran for the 2nd district in 1992, which was held by six-term U.S. Congressman Charles Hatcher, a white moderate Democrat. The 2nd had been reconfigured as a black-majority district during congressional apportionment following the 1990 Census. Bishop finished second behind Hatcher in a crowded six-way primary. Hatcher failed to reach the 50% threshold, and was forced into a runoff election. During the campaign Bishop attacked Hatcher for bouncing 819 checks in the House banking scandal. Bishop defeated him 53%–47%.[11] In the general election, he defeated Republican Jim Dudley 64%–36%.[12]


In the Democratic primary, he defeated James Bush 67%–33%.[13] In the general election, he won re-election to a second term with 66%.[14]


In 1995, a 5–4 majority of the Supreme Court ruled that the redistricting of Georgia had violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 2nd district was thus redrawn. The newly redrawn district was 60% white. Nonetheless, he won re-election to a third term with 54% of the vote.[15]


Bishop won re-election to a fourth term against Republican Joseph F. McCormick with 57% of the vote.[16] During the campaign, Bishop received twice the campaign financing that his opponent raised. [17][18]


Bishop defeated Dylan Glenn, a young black Republican who received strong backing from many national Republican leaders. The vote was 53%–47%.[19]


Bishop won re-election to a sixth term unopposed.[20]


Bishop won re-election to a seventh term with 67% of the vote.[21]


He won re-election to an eighth term with 68% of the vote.[22]


Bishop won re-election to a ninth term with 69% of the vote.[23]


Bishop won re-election to a tenth term against Republican State Representative Mike Keown, 51%–49%,[24] the closest margin of his career. In a year where the Democrats lost the majority in the house, the New York Times noted that Bishop's re-election possibilities seemed slim as an "incumbent in an anti-Washington year", his identity as a black man in a majority white district (49% White,47% Black), and the scholarship scandal surrounding his non-profit.[25]


After redistricting, the 2nd district became a black majority district. Notably, it added most of Macon, previously the heart of the 8th district. Bishop was heavily favored in the general election as a result.[26] He defeated Republican John House with 63 percent of the vote.[27]


Bishop during the 103rd Congress
Bishop during the 103rd Congress

Bishop is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus,[28] as well as the Blue Dog Democrats,[29] a group of moderate to conservative House Democrats. Due to his willingness to work across the aisle, Congressman Bishop was ranked the 16th most bipartisan member of the 114th Congress. The ranking was part of the Bipartisan Index put forth by The Lugar Center in collaboration with Georgetown University.[30] Serving a primarily agricultural district, Bishop has fought to preserve the federal price supports for peanuts, southwest Georgia's most important crop. The New York Times quoted Mr. Adams, chairman of the agency that administers Federal farm programs in Georgia saying "It's questionable whether it would have survived without the votes he brought to it".[31] In 1997, he caused considerable controversy within his own party by cosponsoring a bill by U.S. Representative Ernest Istook (R-Oklahoma) to introduce a constitutional amendment to protect religious expression on public property, known as the H. J. Res, 78, the Religious Freedom Amendment. The specific wording of the amendment allowing the practice of religion on public property, most notably public schools, reads as follows:

To secure the people's fight to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: The people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage and traditions shall not be infringed. The Government shall not require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity, prescribe school prayers, discriminate- against religion, or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion ... The people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed.[32]

On October 10, 2002, Sanford Bishop was one of only four of 36 Congressional Black Caucus members who voted for the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War. The other three Congressional Black Caucus members who voted for the resolution authorizing the Iraq War are no longer members of Congress: Bill Jefferson of Louisiana, Albert Wynn of Maryland, and Harold Ford, Jr. of Tennessee.[33][34][35]

On September 10, 2007, Sanford Bishop endorsed Barack Obama for President and was co-chair of Georgia for Obama campaign; Bishop's wife, Vivian Creighton Bishop, a municipal court clerk in Columbus, was co-chair of the Georgia Women for Hillary committee.[36] In 2010, he voted no on President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because of wording in the bill that permitted federal funding for abortions.[37]

Bishop currently serves on the powerful Appropriations Committee, and is the Chair on the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.


In September 2010, the Associated Press reported that Bishop had, between 2003 and 2005, directed scholarships and awards funded by the Congressional Black Caucus to ineligible persons, including his stepdaughter, Aayesha Owens Reese, his niece, Emmaundia J. Whitaker, and other people with close ties to the family, threatening to turn the program into a larger political problem for the party. Ashton McRae released a statement by Bishop's office: "It is our understanding that the CBC Foundation in 2008 revisited the guidelines and processes for its scholarship programs, and as such, included language to clarify that CBC family members are not eligible to receive the scholarships. These scholarships ... were awarded prior to 2008."[38] Ultimately Rep. Bishop's spokesman said the congressman would repay the scholarship fund for any awards he made in violation of the rules.[39] Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington mentioned Bishop in its annual Most Corrupt Members of Congress report in 2011.[40]

In 1997, the Pigford v. Glickman lawsuit came out of legislative discrimination against black farmers. The case was led by Timothy Pigford and 400 black farmers. The Washington Times reported that by the end of the case in 1999, over 94,000 claims were filed in conjunction with the original case, "even though the U.S. Census Bureau never counted more than 33,000 black farmers in America during the years in question."[41] In February 2011, three farmers brought allegations of fraud to Mr. Bishop, including Eddie Slaughter, vice president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association. Bishop told The Albany Herald that he was aware of fraud in the program, but that the settlement's anti-fraud provisions would prevent disbursement of funds to those who didn't qualify.[42][43] Interviews with Mr. Slaughter have circulated the internet and criticism has been raised regarding his comments about fraud allegations leading the end of the program.[44]

In 2020, the Office of Congressional Ethics released a report alleging Bishop misused over $90,000 of campaign funds to cover personal expenses[45] like fuel, golf expenses, meals, travel, tuition and entertainment. A full House Ethics Committee investigation was subsequently launched.[46]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Georgia's 2nd congressional district general election, 1992[51]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sanford Bishop 95,789 63.70
Republican Jim Dudley 54,593 36.30
Total votes 150,382 100.0
Georgia's 2nd congressional district general election, 1994[52]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sanford Bishop (incumbent) 65,383 66.17
Republican John Clayton 33,429 33.83
Total votes 98,812 100.0
Georgia's 2nd congressional district Democratic primary, 1996[53]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sanford Bishop (incumbent) 56,660 59.40
Democratic W.T. Gamble III 31,615 33.14
Democratic Walter H. Lewis 7,116 7.46
Total votes 95,391 100.0
Georgia's 2nd congressional district general election, 1996[54]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Sanford Bishop (incumbent) 88,256 53.97
Republican Darrel Ealum 75,282 46.03
Total votes 163,538 100.0


See also


  1. ^ "1. Sanford Dixon Bishop Jr.: b. 4 Feb 1947 Mobile, Mobile Co., AL; U.S. Representative from GA (D)". Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  2. ^ BISHOP, Sanford Dixon, Jr. (1947-) - website of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  3. ^ Explorations in Black Leadership: Sanford Bishop - website of the University of Virginia
  4. ^ "Veterans in the US House of Representatives 109th Congress" (PDF). Navy League. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Townley, Alvin (2007). Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 165–72. ISBN 978-0-312-36653-7. Retrieved December 29, 2006.
  6. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 12, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  7. ^ "Congressman Sanford Bishop, Jr". May 30, 2007. Archived from the original on May 30, 2007. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "Congressman Sanford Bishop, Jr". November 28, 2005. Archived from the original on November 28, 2005. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  9. ^ Hannah Hess (October 11, 2013). "Sanford Bishop Announces Cancer Diagnosis, Treatments". Roll Call. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  10. ^ Larry Gierer (January 9, 2014). "Sanford Bishop now cancer free". Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  11. ^ "GA District 2 - D Runoff Race - Aug 11, 1992". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  12. ^ "GA District 2 Race - Nov 03, 1992". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  13. ^ "GA District 2 - D Primary Race - Jul 19, 1994". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  14. ^ "GA District 2 Race - Nov 08, 1994". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  15. ^ "GA District 2 Race - Nov 05, 1996". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  16. ^ "GA District 2 Race - Nov 03, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  17. ^ "Campaign Finance: Joseph F McCormick". Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  18. ^ "Cycle Fundraising, 1997 - 1998, Campaign Cmte". Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  19. ^ "GA District 2 Race - Nov 07, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  20. ^ "GA District 2 Race - Nov 05, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  21. ^ "GA District 2 Race - Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  22. ^ "GA District 2 Race - Nov 07, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  23. ^ "GA District 2 Race - Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  24. ^ "GA District 2 Race - Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  25. ^ Robbie Brown (November 4, 2010). "Rare Winner for Southern Democrats". The New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  26. ^ "House members most helped by redistricting". TheHill. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  27. ^ "US Representative, District 2 Results". GA - Election Results. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  28. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  29. ^ "Members". Blue Dog Coalition. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  30. ^ The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index (PDF), The Lugar Center, March 7, 2016, retrieved April 30, 2017
  31. ^ Kevin Sack (December 30, 1998). "In the Rural White South, Seeds of a Biracial Politics". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  32. ^ Sanford Bishop (July 22, 1997). "Testimony of Representative Sanford Bishop 2nd District, Georgia". House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. Archived from the original on May 21, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  33. ^ "Final vote results for roll call 455". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. October 10, 2002.
  34. ^ "H.J.RES.114 To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq". THOMAS. October 16, 2002. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
  35. ^ Eversley, Melanie (October 10, 2002). "Georgians in House divided on Iraq". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. A1. Democrat Sanford Bishop unabashedly announced his support of the current Republican president.
  36. ^ Dewan, Shaila (January 18, 2008). "Southern Blacks Are Split on Clinton vs. Obama". The New York Times. p. A1.
  37. ^ Carl Cameron (March 10, 2010). "Senate Health Care Bill Dead on Arrival, Pro-Life House Democrats Say". Fox News. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  38. ^ Scher, Bill. "Bishop steered scholarships to family". Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  39. ^ "Representative Sanford D Bishop Jr Awarded Scholarships to Family", by the Associated Press, New York Times 11 September 2010
  40. ^ "Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) Earned Dishonorable Mention in CREW's Annual Most Corrupt Report". Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Associated Press. September 19, 2011. Archived from the original on August 3, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  41. ^ "EDITORIAL: USDA's Pigford fraud Obama initiative ignores corruption to redistribute wealth". The Washington Times. February 2, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  42. ^ Lewis, Terry (January 19, 2011). "Rep. Bishop blasts video". Albany Herald. Retrieved September 14, 2021.
  43. ^ Stranahan, Lee (January 24, 2011). "Blue Dog Congressman Sanford Bishop Knew About Pigford Fraud". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  44. ^ Keefe, Bob (January 20, 2011). "Rep. Bishop takes heat over Breitbart videos about black farmers settlement". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  45. ^ Bresnahan, John. "Rep. Sanford Bishop allegedly misused more than $90,000 in campaign and official funds". POLITICO. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  46. ^ Caroline Kelly. "Ethics panel extends probe of Georgia congressman over use of campaign funds". CNN. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  47. ^ "Member Profiles: Sanford D. Bishop Jr". Office of the Clerk, US House of Representatives. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  48. ^ "Members". Blue Dog Coalition. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  49. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  50. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  51. ^ "1992 General Election Results U.S. Congress - 2nd District". Georgia Secretary of State. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  52. ^ "1994 General Election Results U.S. Congress - 2nd District". Georgia Secretary of State. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  53. ^ "Georgia Election Results Official Results of the July 9, 1996 Primary Election". Georgia Secretary of State. July 19, 1996. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  54. ^ "Georgia Election Results Official results of the November 5, 1996 General Election". Georgia Secretary of State. November 18, 1996. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  55. ^ "No. 61305". The London Gazette. July 24, 2015. pp. 13771–13773.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 2nd congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 19 November 2021, at 20:05
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