Gary Palmer
Gary Palmer - 2018.jpg
Official portrait, 2018
Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
LeaderKevin McCarthy
Preceded byLuke Messer[1]
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded bySpencer Bachus
Personal details
Gary James Palmer

(1954-05-14) May 14, 1954 (age 68)
Hackleburg, Alabama, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseAnn Cushing
EducationUniversity of Alabama (BS)
WebsiteHouse website

Gary James Palmer (born May 14, 1954) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Alabama's 6th congressional district since 2015. His district includes the wealthier parts of Birmingham, as well as most of its suburbs. Before becoming an elected official, Palmer co-founded and served as the longtime president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank.[2]

A member of the House Freedom Caucus,[3] Palmer has chaired the Republican Policy Committee since 2019.

Early life, education, and career

Palmer was born in Hackleburg, Alabama. His family lived on a 40-acre farm, where Palmer helped maintain the family garden and animals.[4]

Palmer has a bachelor's degree in operations management from the University of Alabama.[5] He was the first member of his family to earn a college degree.[4] He was a walk-on wide receiver for the Crimson Tide and played under Bear Bryant.[6] In 1989, Palmer co-founded the Alabama Family Alliance, which later became the Alabama Policy Institute. He served as its president for 25 years, stepping down in 2014 to run for Congress.[7] Palmer helped found the State Policy Network, a nonprofit umbrella organization for conservative and libertarian think tanks that focus on state-level policy, and served as its president.[8]

U.S. House of Representatives



See also: 2014 United States House of Representatives elections in Alabama § District 6

Palmer declared his candidacy for the 6th district following the retirement announcement of 11-term incumbent Spencer Bachus.[5] In a crowded seven-way Republican primary—the real contest in this heavily Republican district—Palmer finished second behind state representative Paul DeMarco. In the ensuing runoff election, Palmer picked up the support of the Club for Growth.[9] Despite outspending Palmer, DeMarco lost momentum after a botched debate with Palmer and never recovered. By election day, polls suggested Palmer would win the nomination by 30 points. Palmer won the runoff, 64% to 36%.[10] In the general election, he defeated Democratic nominee Mark Lester, a history professor at Birmingham-Southern College, 76% to 24%,[11] but he had effectively clinched a seat in Congress with his primary victory. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+28, the 6th was tied with the neighboring 4th as Alabama's most Republican district.

Palmer has been reelected three times with only nominal opposition, running unopposed in 2020. He has only dropped below 70% once. In 2018, Democrat Danner Kline held him to 69.2%. Kline received 30.8% of the vote, the best showing for a Democrat in almost a quarter-century. It is the only time since the GOP began its current run in the seat in 1993 that a Democrat has managed 30% of the vote.


See also: 2022 United States House of Representatives elections in Alabama § District 6

Palmer ran for reelection to the House in the general election on November 8, 2022. Unchallenged in the Republican primary and with no Democratic candidates qualified to run in this district, Palmer was initially left unopposed. However, the Libertarian Party qualified for ballot access in May 2022, giving Palmer a general-election opponent, Amazon supervisor Andria Chieffo. Palmer defeated Chieffo in the general election with 83.7% of the vote to Chieffo's 15.1%.[12]


Gary Palmer's swearing in for his second tenure in office in 2017.
Gary Palmer's swearing in for his second tenure in office in 2017.

Palmer took office on January 3, 2015, along with the other freshmen members of the 114th Congress.

Palmer voted against the American Rescue Plan, an economic recovery and COVID-19 relief bill, in February 2021. His rationale for opposing the bill was that it was "not about COVID relief, but about the Democrat agenda", and a "repeat of the failed stimulus bill passed in 2009 under President Obama and then Vice President Biden."[13] Despite Palmer's claims, the American Rescue Plan is unrelated to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Palmer was criticized for touting funding for the Birmingham Northern Beltline that he added to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act while neglecting to mention that he voted against the final bill.[14]

As of October 2021, Palmer had voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 7.5% of the time.[15]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

As of 2020, Palmer has a 92% rating for supporting conservative causes, according to Heritage Action for America.[18] The American Conservative Union's center for legislative accountability gave him a 97% lifetime conservative rating[19] and the progressive PAC Americans for Democratic Action gave him a 0% liberal quotient in 2019.[20]


Palmer opposes legal abortion.[21] Palmer supported the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade.[22]

LGBTQ rights

Palmer has stated that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice is something "no reasonable person" would allow and said that "the safety implications for sexual predation have been well documented."[23] He opposes same-sex marriage, saying, "No one can change the fundamental nature of what marriage is: the union of a man and a woman and the formation of a family which is the foundation of every civilization."[24]


During the COVID-19 crisis, Palmer opposed proxy voting while Congress was unable to work onsite at the Capitol due to shelter-in-place orders.[25]


Palmer voted to support medical marijuana research but opposes legalizing marijuana.[21]

Gun law

Palmer supports gun rights. He opposes what he deems unconstitutional gun restrictions. He supports efforts that enable legal gun owners to carry their guns, including concealed carry, over state lines.[26]

Health care

Palmer opposes the Affordable Care Act, calling it "a nightmare" and "job-killing." He supports efforts to repeal it.[27]

Homeland security

Palmer is pro-nuclear weapons. He supports increasing funding for the Defense Department specifically around work in the Middle East.[28]


Palmer opposes illegal immigration to the United States, including allowing undocumented workers to work in the U.S. He supports efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.[29]

Tax reform

Palmer voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[30] He said the bill would "put more money in the pockets of the American people" and "launch economic growth." He blamed the Obama administration and a "burdensome tax code that was designed for a 1986 economy" for an "anemic" economy.[31]

Term limits

After his election in the 2014 midterms, Palmer signed the U.S. Term Limits pledge, agreeing to serve no more than five two-year terms, or 10 years.[32] Palmer's signature also meant that he pledged to sponsor legislation enacting term limits for U.S. representatives and senators. In September 2021, the U.S. Term Limits group accused Palmer of refusing to cosponsor a term limits amendment, alleging that he had broken the pledge. The group purchased billboards in Alabama's 6th congressional district attacking Palmer. Palmer's re-election campaign responded by calling the accusation "fake news," charging that the pledge only applied to the 114th United States Congress and that Palmer cosponsored the amendment for three consecutive terms.[33] Palmer's pledge meant that the 2022 elections would be his last. However, in March 2022, Palmer stated that he made the pledge before becoming a part of Republican leadership in Congress; he also took high turnover in Alabama's congressional delegation into consideration, indicating that he would likely run for re-election in 2024 to maintain senior leadership from Alabama, despite the pledge.[34]

Overturning the 2020 election results

Palmer was at the Capitol to certify the 2020 presidential election results on January 6, 2021, when the attack on the Capitol took place. During the attack, Palmer tweeted that it was a "sad day" and that "the scenes we witnessed today were unacceptable."[35] After the attack, Palmer voted against certifying the election, objecting to Arizona's and Pennsylvania's electoral votes.[36][37] On January 13, Palmer blamed Donald Trump for "sending" the attackers to the Capitol.[38] He voted against impeaching Trump a second time, calling the second impeachment a Democratic "abuse of power" and a "sham process."[39]

In December 2020, Palmer was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated[40] Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[41][42][43]

Electoral history

Electoral history of Gary Palmer
Year Office Party Primary General Result Swing Ref.
Total % P. Runoff % P. Total % P.
2014 U.S. Representative Republican 18,655 19.73% 2nd 47,524 63.49 1st 135,945 76.18% 1st Won Hold [44]
2016 Republican Does not appear 245,313 74.52% 1st Won Hold [45]
2018 Republican Does not appear 192,542 69.18% 1st Won Hold [46]
2020 Republican Does not appear 274,160 97.13% 1st Won Hold [47]
2022 Republican Does not appear 154,233 83.73% 1st Won Hold [48]

Personal life

Palmer is married to Ann Cushing Palmer.[49] They have three children.[50]

When working in Washington, D.C., Palmer sleeps at his office on Capitol Hill.[49]

Palmer is a longtime member of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Rep. Messer reelected to Chair Republican Policy Committee". Republican Policy Committee. November 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Cason, Mike (October 24, 2013). "Gary Palmer announces he will run for Congress in Alabama's 6th congressional district". Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  3. ^ Bialik, Carl; Bycoffe, Aaron (September 25, 2015). "The Hard-Line Republicans Who Pushed John Boehner Out". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Platt, Camille Smith (February 24, 2017). "Cover Story: Gary Palmer". Birmingham Christian Family Magazine. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Gary Palmer announces he will run for Congress in Alabama's 6th congressional district". Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  6. ^ "Ala. congressional candidate remembers playing for Bear Bryant: 'wouldn't trade it for anything'". Yellowhammer News. May 13, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Moseley, Brandon (September 2014). "Crosby to Replace Palmer at API". Alabama Political Reporter. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  8. ^ Barnes, Fred (May 22, 2014). "A Conservative Candidate of Character, Conviction, Knowledge, and Leadership". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  9. ^ "Gary Palmer Marks Second Chance for Club for Growth in Alabama Race". At the Races. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  10. ^ "Gary Palmer swamps Paul DeMarco in 6th District Republican runoff". Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "Gary Palmer victorious in Alabama's 6th congressional district race". Shelby County Reporter. November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  12. ^ "Gary Palmer". Ballotpedia. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
  13. ^ "Here's how Alabama's U.S. House Representatives voted on President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill". February 27, 2021. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  14. ^ Koplowitz, Howard (November 16, 2021). "Palmer roasted for 'hypocrisy' of securing Northern Beltline funding, voting against it". Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  15. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (October 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  16. ^ Guy, Retiring (February 25, 2017). "Retiring Guy's Digest: Sounds like Alabama GOP rep and Freedom Caucus crazy Gary Palmer had a case of nerves at his town hall". Retiring Guy's Digest. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  17. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  18. ^ "Rep. Gary Palmer - Scorecard 116: 92% | Heritage Action For America". Heritage Action For America. June 29, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  19. ^ "ACU Lawmakers".((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ "ADA Liberal Quotient" (PDF).((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ a b Underwood, Madison. "Abortion, marijuana, and same-sex marriage: District 6 candidates state their positions". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  22. ^ Palmer, Gary. "Today, we celebrate a decision by the Supreme Court that will save the lives of countless unborn Americans. While today is a great day in American history, the struggle is far from over. It will be up to state legislatures and Republicans in Congress to continue protecting life". Twitter. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  23. ^ Koplowitz, Howard. "'They have lost their minds': Roby, Palmer blast Obama administration over transgender student bathroom guidance". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  24. ^ Koplowitz, Howard. "SCOTUS gay marriage ruling: Alabama congressional delegation widely pans same-sex marriage decision". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  25. ^ Palmer, Gary (May 21, 2020). "A message to Americans from Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats". The Washington Times. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  26. ^ "Gary Palmer on Gun Control". On the Issues. June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  27. ^ "Gary Palmer on Health Care". On the Issues. June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  28. ^ "Gary Palmer on Homeland Security". On the Issues. June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  29. ^ "Gary Palmer on Immigration". On the Issues. June 26, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  30. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  31. ^ Kirby, Brendan (December 20, 2017). "Tax cuts will create 4,600 Alabama jobs, raise family income across the state by $519, study says - Yellowhammer News". Yellowhammer News. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  32. ^ Gore, Leada (November 24, 2014). "How long is too long in Congress? For Gary Palmer, it's 10 years: Today in Alabama politics". Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  33. ^ Moseley, Brandon (September 9, 2021). "Term Limits group targets Gary Palmer for allegedly breaking campaign pledge". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  34. ^ Wilkins, Emily; Cohen, Zach (March 4, 2022). "GOP Maps Out Next Agenda With Aid of Quiet Lawmaker From Alabama". Bloomberg Government. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  35. ^ "Alabama's congressional delegation reacts to storming of US Capitol". WAFF. January 6, 2021. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  36. ^ Lyman, Brian (January 7, 2021). "6 Alabama congressmen, 1 senator support moves to throw out votes of Arizona, Pennsylvania". The Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  37. ^ Yourish, Karen; Buchanan, Larry; Lu, Denise (January 7, 2021). "The 147 Republicans Who Voted to Overturn Election Results". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  38. ^ "Rep. Gary Palmer: 'I hold the president responsible for sending those people to the Capitol'". Yellowhammer News. January 7, 2021. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  39. ^ "Palmer said that there "are still no grounds for impeachment"". Alabama Political Reporter. January 16, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  40. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  41. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  42. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  43. ^ Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  44. ^ Primary election: Primary runoff: General election:
  45. ^ "2016 United States House of Representatives general election results" (PDF). Montgomery: Secretary of State of Alabama. 2016.
  46. ^ "2018 United States House of Representatives general election results" (PDF). Montgomery: Secretary of State of Alabama. 2018.
  47. ^ "2020 United States House of Representatives general election results" (PDF). Montgomery: Secretary of State of Alabama. 2020.
  48. ^ "2022 United States House of Representatives general election results" (PDF). Montgomery: Secretary of State of Alabama. 2022.
  49. ^ a b Koplowitz, Howard (July 21, 2015). "Palmer: D.C. more like 'C-SPAN' than 'House of Cards'". AL. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  50. ^ Turpen, Katie (December 10, 2014). "Local politician Gary Palmer discusses highlights of campaign and upcoming term". Hoover Sun. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
U.S. House of Representatives Preceded bySpencer Bachus Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Alabama's 6th congressional district 2015–present Incumbent Party political offices Preceded byLuke Messer Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee 2019–present Incumbent U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial) Preceded byDan Newhouse United States representatives by seniority 222nd Succeeded byKathleen Rice