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Birthdate: Jan. 6, 1957
Birth Place: Grovetown, GA, United States
Residence: Grovetown, GA
Lee Anderson was born in rural Grovetown, Ga., and still lives on the family farm where he was raised. He attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Brewton Parker College but did not receive a degree.
Anderson remained a full-time farmer, growing hay while building his political resume in local and state government.
Anderson served 12 years in Columbia County, first on the school board and then on the county commission, before running for the Georgia Legislature.
He spent two terms in the state House, from 2009 to 2012, before stepping down to run for Congress.
Anderson and his wife, Donna, have two children.
Lee Anderson hadn't even won the 2012 Republican primary for eastern Georgia's 12th Congress District when the Democratic incumbent began attacking him, underscoring both the bruising and protracted GOP primary Anderson had to win and the stakes for an incumbent at risk of losing his seat.
Anderson won a crowded four-way primary race for the GOP nomination to challenge Rep. John Barrow, a four-term Democrat fighting for re-election in a district that state lawmakers had redrawn to engineer his defeat. The changes to the district carved out Savannah, Barrow's home and Democratic base, and swapped it for conservative, rural communities such as Anderson's home turf of Columbia County.
With help from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which pledged to spend $900,000 on TV ads in the district, Anderson's campaign worked to paint Barrow as a political soul mate of President Barack Obama, who has proven unpopular with many rural, white voters. Although Barrow has voted against Obama on several big issues, such as the 2010 health care reform bill, Anderson makes a point of linking the two Democrats.
For example, when Anderson finally clinched the GOP nomination after a recount of primary runoff votes Sept. 5, he promised to "stop the Obama-Barrow agenda that's saddling our children and grandchildren with debt."
It took more than a month after Georgia's July 31 primary for Anderson to be confirmed as Barrow's Republican challenger. While Anderson got more votes than his three GOP primary opponents, he fell short of a majority needed to avoid a runoff. In the runoff Aug. 21, Anderson edged Rick W. Allen, an Augusta businessman, by just 159 votes. The margin was close enough to allow Allen a recount, which confirmed Anderson's victory Sept. 5.
On the campaign trail, Anderson has promised to balance the budget by cutting every federal agency by 5 percent, sparing only the Defense Department. He also says he would cut his own congressional salary by 20 percent.
During debates before the GOP primary, Anderson said he supports abolishing the federal Department of Education as well as replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax _ the so-called fair tax.
Anderson's Republican rivals in the primary attacked him for supporting two tax increases as a state lawmaker. One was his 2010 vote to impose a 1.45 percent tax on hospital revenues, which Georgia hospitals supported to secure federal matching funds for Medicaid. Anderson also supported a July 2012 ballot referendum to add a penny sales tax for transportation projects across Georgia. Anderson said voters should be allowed to decide the issue for themselves. They ended up widely rejecting the tax.
During the three-week Republican primary runoff campaign, Anderson declined all debate invitations after having stumbled on questions regarding the transportation sales tax issue and the Federal Reserve in prior debates and forums.
It appeared he would also refuse to debate Barrow, a four-term congressman and a Harvard-educated lawyer, during the fall campaign. Anderson's campaign said Sept. 12 he would only consider debating Barrow if the Democrat would stand before a TV camera and state whether he plans to vote for Obama for president and Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California for speaker of the House.
Barrow has said through a spokesman that he will vote to re-elect Obama. When the last Congress convened in January 2011, Barrow cast his vote for House speaker for fellow Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis.
Source: Associated Press
113th Congress on Twitter
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