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ADA members campaign for Congress

April 28, 2014

By Craig Palmer, ADA News staff

Washington—Three Association member dentists are running for Congress with ADPAC support.

The American Dental Political Action Committee supports the campaigns of Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, for re-election and Dr. Brian Babin, Republican, for election to an open seat in the House of Representatives. All are general practice dentists. In their congressional service, Reps. Gosar and Simpson have been advocates for oral health and have sponsored numerous oral health bills.

Dr. Gosar
Dentist/Rep. Gosar, representing Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, announced his first run for public office at the May 2009 ADA Washington Leadership Conference in the nation’s capital. In his first election in 2010 he defeated the incumbent with 49 percent of the vote and in his 2012 re-election won 76 percent of the vote though targeted from the right by a conservative advocacy group, the Club for Growth, which spent some $700,000 in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat him. ADPAC spent $392,000 in independent expenditures for Rep. Gosar in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles combined. The Republican primary filing deadline is May 28 and the primary is Aug. 26. He has a declared Democratic opponent in what is considered to be a relatively safe Republican district. Dr. Gosar practiced dentistry 1985-2010. He serves on the Natural Resources and Oversight and Government Reform committees.

Dr. Simpson
Dentist/Rep. Simpson, representing Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District, is serving his eighth term in Congress, having been first elected in 1998 after serving as Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives and practicing dentistry 1977-1998. Rep. Simpson serves on the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, chairs one subcommittee and shares leadership on two others including the interior, environment and related agencies subcommittee. The Idaho primary election –the real race in this Republican-safe district—is May 20, and Rep. Simpson’s re-election is being challenged by a Club for Growth-backed candidate. This primary is ranked by political publications and experts as among the “Top 5 to Watch.” In previous elections, Rep. Simpson has faced little opposition. ADPAC spent $71,000 in independent expenditures on his campaigns in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

Dr. Babin
Dr. Brian Babin is a candidate for election to represent Texas’ 36th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. This is an open seat vacated by Rep. Steve Stockman when he decided to run for the Senate and is considered to be in a Republican safe district. A dozen Republicans ran for this open seat and Dr. Babin led the 12 candidates with 33 percent of the vote in the March 3 primary. This is not enough to avoid a runoff in Texas where 50 percent of the vote is required, and Dr. Babin faces a runoff May 27 with his nearest opponent, who garnered 23 percent of the primary vote. Dr. Babin is the former mayor of Woodville. He served in the U.S. Air Force, Army Reserve and Texas Army National Guard and has practiced dentistry since 1979.

Also in the Texas primary, Sen. John Cornyn, Republican, won more than 50 percent of the primary vote to avoid a runoff with Rep. Stockman. Dr. David Alameel, who garnered 47 percent of the votes in the Democratic primary among five candidates seeking to oppose Sen. Cornyn, faces a May 27 runoff.