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Robert "Bud" Cramer

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Ronnie Flippo
Succeeded by Parker Griffith

Born August 22, 1947 (1947-08-22) (age 62)
Huntsville, Alabama
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Widowed
Children Hollan Cramer
Residence Huntsville
Alma mater University of Alabama
Occupation attorney
Religion United Methodist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1976-1978
Unit Reserves

Robert Edward "Bud" Cramer, Jr.,[1] (born August 22, 1947) is an American politician and was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1991, representing Alabama's 5th congressional district. On March 13, 2008, Cramer announced he would not seek another term.[2]


Life and political career

Cramer was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. Known as Bud by his classmates, he earned a bachelor of arts in 1969 and law degree from the University of Alabama in 1972. After graduating, he joined the Army as a tank officer. He served at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and remained a member of the Army Reserve from 1976 to 1978.

In 1973, Cramer became the Madison County District Attorney, a position he held until going into private practice in 1975. He remained in private practice until 1980, when he challenged the incumbent Madison County District Attorney and won at age 33. He was district attorney from 1981 to 1990, until Rep. Ronnie Flippo ran unsuccessfully for governor. Cramer ran for the vacant Congressional seat and won. In 1985, he founded the National Children's Advocacy Center, a child-friendly environment for abused children. He was briefly considered for a post in the Bush administration in 2001.

A widower, Cramer has a daughter, Hollan Lanier; two grandsons, Dylan and Mason; and a granddaughter, Patricia. He is a member of the United Methodist Church, and taught Sunday school classes to young people for many years.

On March 13, 2008, Cramer surprised colleagues by announcing that he would not seek re-election in 2008 and would retire at the end of his term. Alabama State Senator and Democrat Parker Griffith defeated Republican Wayne Parker in the race to succeed Cramer. Griffith would announce on December 22, 2009 that he was switching parties, joing the Republican caucas, becoming only the second Republican to ever represent the district.

House record

In the House, Cramer was a tireless supporter of the International Space Station and a leading advocate for spending increases in missile defense, as Huntsville has long been a center for research and development of these two projects, as Redstone Arsenal—located in the district—is home of the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

A liberal in his early days, he largely supported the Democratic line for his first three terms. However, he was nearly defeated in 1994 by Republican businessman Wayne Parker—the closest that a Republican has come to winning one of the few remaining districts in the former Confederacy that has not elected a Republican since Reconstruction. Cramer only held onto his seat by 1,770 votes. Cramer managed to defeat Parker with less difficulty in 1996 and never faced serious opposition again, winning five more terms by over 70 percent of the vote and running unopposed in 2006.

The 1994 near-defeat, however, led Cramer to move more to the right in his voting. He often broke with his party on issues such as abortion, gay rights, gun control, taxes, regulation of business, and the environment. Cramer was one of only four Democrats in the House to vote for the tax cut bill of 2003.

Cramer's voting record placed him near the center of the House; however, he was often cited as unpredictable in his votes. Child protection has long been a legislative project of Cramer's pursuant to his work with the area prior to his ascent to the House. In the last few years of his term in office, Democrats have become increasingly irritated by a more conservative voting pattern, particularly against partial-birth abortion and in support of parts of the Republican Contract with America. However, unlike a few other conservative Democrats, he did not vote in favor of any of the articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.

Cramer was a long-time member of the Blue Dog Democrats, a coalition of conservative and moderate House Democrats. Because of his largely conservative positions, he was encouraged by fellow Alabama politician Sen. Richard Shelby to make the same switch that he did and register as a Republican. Cramer has resisted these efforts, and won reelection easily in his increasingly conservative district despite his party affiliation.

On October 10, 2002, Bud Cramer was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq. He also voted in favor of some measures favored by the Republican majority, including the continued occupation of Iraq and re-authorization of the Patriot Act. However, Cramer joined fellow Democrats in opposing President Bush's plan to send 21,000 additional troops to Iraq.

Committees and Subcommittees

  • House Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Defense
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
    • The Select Intelligence Oversight Panel
  • Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (Chairman)
    • Subcommittee on Technical & Tactical Intelligence
  • The Blue Dog Coalition, Co-Founder
  • The Congressional Missing & Exploited Children's Caucus, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder
  • The End the Death Tax Caucus, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder
  • The House Anti-Terrorism Caucus, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder
  • The Tennessee Valley Authority Caucus, Co-Chairman

Electoral history

2006 General Election

Candidate Votes %
Write-in 2,540 2
Bud Cramer (D) 143,015 98
Bud Cramer (D) re-elected for 9th term

2004 General Election

Candidate Votes %
Gerald Wallace (R) 74,145 27
Bud Cramer (D) 200,999 73
Bud Cramer (D) re-elected for 8th term

2002 General Election

Candidate Votes %
Stephen Engel (R) 48,226 25
Bud Cramer (D) 143,029 73
Bud Cramer (D) re-elected for 7th term
  • General Election 2000: Bud Cramer (D) — 89%
  • General Election 1998: Bud Cramer (D) — 70%
  • General Election 1996: Bud Cramer (D) — 56%
  • General Election 1994: Bud Cramer (D) — 50%
  • General Election 1992: Bud Cramer (D) — 66%
  • General Election 1990: Bud Cramer (D) — 67%

Group ratings (2004)


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ronnie G. Flippo
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 5th congressional district

January 3, 1991–January 3, 2009
Succeeded by
Parker Griffith


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