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Bob Price (Texas politician)

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Preceded by  Walter Edward Rogers
Preceded by  Max Sherman
Party  Republican Party
Succeeded by  Barbara Jordan
Succeeded by  Bill Sarpalius
Battles and wars  Korean War

Preceded by  Graham Purcell
Name  Bob Price
Resigned  January 3, 1975
Succeeded by  Jack Hightower
Role  U.S. representative
Bob Price (Texas politician) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Died  August 24, 2004, Pampa, Texas, United States
Education  Oklahoma State University–Stillwater

Service/branch  United States Air Force

Robert Dale Price (September 7, 1927 – August 24, 2004), known as Bob Price, was a Republican U.S. representative from Pampa, Texas, who served from 1967 to 1975. He was subsequently from 1978 to 1981 a member of the Texas State Senate.

Contents

Considered to have been among the most conservative members of his party, Price was only the second Republican since Reconstruction to hold the 18th District U.S. House seat. The first Republican representative from the since reconfigured district, Ben H. Guill, also of Pampa, held the seat for eight months in 1950.

Background

Price was born to Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin F. Price, Sr., in rural Reading in Lyon County in eastern Kansas. He was educated in the Reading public schools and in 1951 received his bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. After graduation, he married the former Martha A. "Marty" White.

From 1951 to 1955, Price served in the United States Air Force. He flew twenty-seven combat missions during the Korean War and received the Air Medal.

The Prices moved to Texas after his discharge from the Air Force. Throughout his adult life, he owned and operated a ranch near Pampa, the seat of Gray County, located northeast of Amarillo. The ranch was located in portions of four counties and had been in the Price family since 1907.

Eight years in Congress

Price became involved in state Republican politics. He was a delegate to the state GOP conventions in 1964, 1966, and 1968. He was a delegate to the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida.

In 1964, Price made his first race in the 18th District by challenging the 14-year Democratic incumbent, Walter Edward Rogers, who prevailed with 58,701 votes (55 percent) to Price's 48,050 (45 percent). Rogers had been initially elected to congress in November 1950, when he unseated the short-term Representative Guill. Price's showing was numerically the best that any Republican congressional candidate made in Texas in 1964, the year that native Texan U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson overwhelmed Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona.

Price ran again in 1966, but Rogers decided not to seek reelection to a ninth term, and the Democrats nominated Dee D. Miller to contest the seat. Price defeated Miller, 45,209 votes (59.5 percent) to 30,822 (40.5 percent). Price was joined in the Texas delegation by a second better-known Republican, George Herbert Walker Bush of Houston, the future U.S. president. Price's party gained forty-seven U.S. House seats nationally but still remained in the minority as the new session of Congress opened in January 1967. He was the first Republican to win a full term in this district.

Price served on the House Agriculture Committee and on the Manned Space Flight and NASA Oversight subcommittees. He became very popular in his district; even though most of its living residents had never been represented by a Republican before (not counting Guill's brief stint), the area was already starting to move away from its Democratic roots. Voters in this area had begun splitting their tickets as early as the 1940s, though conservative Democrats continued to hold most local offices (and would continue to do so well into the 1990s). Price was reelected in 1968 with 65.2 percent of the ballots cast, and he was unopposed in 1970.

In 1972,even though Texas had gained a seat in redistricting, the Texas Legislature merged Price's district with the Wichita Falls-based District 13, held by six-term Democrat Graham Purcell. The reconfigured district retained Purcell's district number, it was geographically and demographically more Price's district than Purcell's; Price retained more than two-thirds of his former territory. As a result, Price defeated Purcell, 87,084 (54.8 percent) to 71,730 (45.2 percent).

A Watergate casualty

In 1974, Price was among dozens of Republican congressmen repudiated by voters in the Democratic "Year of Watergate" even though these members had nothing to do with the scandal that had forced U.S. President Richard M. Nixon from office. Price was defeated by Democrat Jack Hightower of Vernon in Wilbarger County west of Wichita Falls. Hightower had a solid majority, 53,094 (57.6 percent) to Price's 39,087 (42.4 percent). Hightower's winning total was nearly twenty thousand below Purcell's losing tally in 1972. More than half of Price's 1972 supporters deserted him.

In 1976, Price lost to Hightower in an attempted comeback. Hightower prevailed with 101,798 votes (59.3 percent) to Price's 69,328 (40.4 percent).

Later election results

Price entered the Texas State Senate as a result of a special election held in 1977 to fill the District 31 seat vacated by the Democrat Max Sherman, who resigned to become the president of West Texas A&M University in Canyon in Randall County. Price used the slogan "Price is Right for Texas." He held the seat for a partial term, 1978 to 1980. In the 1979 legislative session, Price along with two Republicans from Fort Worth, Betty Andujar and Bob Ware, were included among the "Ten Worst Legislators" by Texas Monthly magazine.

In 1988, when Republican U.S. Representative Beau Boulter of Amarillo ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate against the Democrat Lloyd Bentsen of Houston, Price entered the primary to succeed Boulter but lost the GOP nomination to Larry S. Milner, a businessman from Amarillo and a 1967 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. The seat nevertheless went to a Democrat in the fall, State Senator Bill Sarpalius, who defeated Milner, 52.5 to 47.5 percent. Sarpalius had won the state senate seat that Price vacated in 1980 and served in that capacity until he was elected to the U.S. House in 1988.

Price sought the GOP congressional nomination again in 1990, but he lost to Richard A. Waterfield, a state representative from Canadian in Hemphill County, known for his advocacy of meal-delivery programs for the elderly and disabled. Price ran again in 1992 but was defeated in the primary by Boulter. After winning their subsequent nominations, both Waterfield and Boulter were subsequently defeated by Sarpalius in the general election.

Price's legacy

Price was a member of the First Baptist Church of Pampa. He was also a former member of the Downtown Kiwanis International.

Price was recognized posthumously by the Texas House of Representatives in January 2005 in a proclamation presented by his Pampa friend, Warren Chisum. The proclamation cited Price's "sense of humor, strength of conviction, and dedication to public service. Bob Price sought to make a positive difference in the lives of others, and he leaves behind a legacy of achievement that will surely inspire those who will follow in his footsteps."

Price died in Pampa. In addition to his wife "Marty", he was survived his son, Carl Benjamin Price (married to the former Kelly Wiemann); daughter, Janice Price Johnson (married to Marc Johnson), and brother, Benjamin F. Price, Jr. (married to Ruth Price). There are seven Price grandchildren: Nicholas, Miles, and Elise Johnson and Courtney, Grayson, Bridget, and Daniella Price. He is interred at Fairview Cemetery in Pampa. His longtime canine companion "Waggs" soon followed Price in death.

References

Bob Price (Texas politician) Wikipedia


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