John Tanner

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This is a profile of a former U.S. Representative. (See the Tennessee portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
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John S. Tanner, a Democrat, has represented the Eighth Congressional District of Tennessee in the United States House of Representatives from 1988 to 2011.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union 21 - 1/5 not avail.
AFSCME not avail. not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action 80 - 16/20 80 - 16/20
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council not avail. not avail.
Information Technology Industry Council not avail. not avail.
League of Conservation Voters not avail. not avail.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 65 - 13/20 not avail.

Iraq War

Tanner voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal



Tanner was born September 22, 1944 in Halls, Tennessee and graduated from the University of Tennessee. Tanner served in the United States Navy from 1968 to 1972. He was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1976, replacing Larry Bates, who mounted an unsuccessful primary challenge against Congressman Ed Jones.

Congressional Career

When Jones retired in 1988, Tanner won the Democratic nomination for the seat and handily defeated Republican nominee Ed Bryant, who went on to represent the neighboring 7th District from 1995 to 2003.

Tanner was reelected in 1990 with no major-party opposition, a feat he repeated in 1992. In 1998, he was completely unopposed. He handily defeated Republican opponents in 1994 (the only time besides his initial election that he faced a serious or well-funded Republican), 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2004. His 2004 opponent, James L. Hart, was an avowed eugenicist disavowed by the state Republican Party.

Positions and Views

As a Congressman, Tanner has sponsored a bill to repeal the inheritance tax (which was vetoed by President Bill Clinton), and he is in favor of a balanced budget. It is reported that Tanner could have been appointed to the United States Senate by governor of Tennessee Ned McWherter in1992 to replace Al Gore but he declined the offer, and Harlan Mathews was appointed as a caretaker instead. Tanner was a founder of the Blue Dog Democrats, and has an earned reputation as a moderate.

Tanner is strongly in favor of balancing the budget and paying down the national debt, and has been a strong opponent of the fiscal policies of President George W. Bush, voting against virtually all tax cuts passed since his taking office. Tanner was one of the few Democrats in the House to vote in favor of CAFTA and has long distanced himself from the majority of his party on issues such as bankruptcy law and lawsuit reform. He voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, the ban on "partial-birth" abortions, limiting death penalty appeals, and has voted against most gun control measures. On other issues he is more liberal: he often votes with his party on separation of church and states issues, and has consistently voted against the Flag Desecration Amendment. Tanner voted with the majority of his party to expand stem cell research and against renewing the controversial portions of the Patriot Act.

Tanner received much of his knowledge of politics as a youth from his mother Doris, who was an associate professor of history at the University of Tennessee-Martin and a former Women's Auxiliary Service Pilot (WASP) in World War II who had long been a leading advocate for these women to receive veteran status, which they were eventually granted.

In 2004, Congressman Tanner made a brief cameo appearance alongside Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11.

He recently drafted a bill that would forbid state legislatures from drawing congressional districts. It is generally believed that this bill is a response to Republican-inspired mid-decade redistricting in Texas and recent similar efforts in Colorado and Georgia.

2006 elections

In 2006, the Republicans nominated John Farmer to face Tanner in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [1] Tanner retained his seat.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Campaign contribution data could not be found.

Links to more campaign contribution information for John Tanner
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Coalitions and Caucuses

  • Army Caucus, 108th Congress
  • Executive Board, Congressional Arts Caucus, 108th Congress
  • Congressional Fire Services Caucus, 108th Congress
  • Congressional Internet Caucus, 108th Congress
  • Steering Committee, Congressional Rural Health Care Caucus.
  • Congressional Soybean Caucus, 108th Congress
  • Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus
  • Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, 108th Congress
  • Congressional Vietnam-Era Veterans Caucus, 108th Congress
  • Congressional Wireless Caucus, 108th Congress
  • Democratic Study Group
  • House Wireless Caucus
  • I-69 Caucus
  • Mississippi River Caucus
  • Vice-Chair, National Guard & Reserve Components Congressional Members Organization
  • Vice Chair, Reserve Components Caucus, 108th Congress

Boards and other Affiliations

  • Member, 32nd Degree Mason
  • Member, American Legion
  • Member, Blue Dog Coalition
  • Member, Masons
  • Member, New Democrat Coalition
  • Member, Obion County Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, Obion County Cancer Society
  • Member, Obion County Bar Association
  • Member, Professional Advisory Board of ALSAC-Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • Member, The Concord Coalition
  • Vice President, NATO Parliamentary Assembly
  • Member, Union City Rotary Club

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on John Tanner. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC office
  • 429 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
    Ph: 202-225-3015 Fax: 202-226-0386
    Webform email
District offices
  • P.O. Box 629, Union City, TN 38281
    Ph: 731-885-7070 Fax: (none entered)
  • Millington, TN 38053-1702
    Ph: 901-873-5690 Fax: (none entered)
  • 109 South Highland Avenue, Jackson, TN 38301-6123
    Ph: 731-423-4848 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • No campaign office information entered.

Articles and resources

Local blogs and discussion sites

Semantic data (Edit data)