Bob Price (Texas politician)

Bob Price (Texas politician)

Infobox State Representative| name=Robert Dale "Bob" Price
office= U.S. Representative from the 18th District of Texas (Panhandle)
preceded= Walter Edward Rogers
succeeded= Barbara Jordan (redistricting)
office2=U.S. Representative from the 13th District of Texas (Panhandle)
preceded2=Graham Purcell
succeeded2=Jack English Hightower
office3=Texas State Senator from the Panhandle
preceded3=Max Sherman
succeeded3=Bill Sarpalius
date of birth=September 7, 1927
date of death=death date and age|2004|08|24|1927|09|7
place of birth=Reading, Kansas
spouse= Martha A. "Marty" White Price
children= Grant Price; Carl Benjamin Price; Janice Ann Price Johnson

Robert Dale "Bob" Price (September 7, 1927August 24, 2004) was a Republican congressman from the Texas Panhandle from 1967-1975 and a member of the Texas State Senate from 1978-1981. Price was considered to have been among the most conservative members of his party. He was the first Republican since Reconstruction to hold the Panhandle congressional seat.

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

Price joined the U.S. Air Force and served from 1951-1955. He flew twenty-seven combat missions during the Korean War and was awarded 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 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 national convention in Miami Beach, Florida, in 1968.

In 1964, Price made his first race for the District 18 seat in the U.S. House. He challenged the 14-year incumbent, Walter Edward Rogers, who won the race, 58,701 votes (55 percent) to Price's 48,050 (45 percent). Price's showing was numerically the best that any Republican congressional candidate made in Texas in 1964, the year that native Texan Lyndon B. Johnson overwhelmed Arizona's Barry M. Goldwater.

Price ran again in 1966, but Rogers decided not to seek reelection to a ninth term. 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 Republican, George Herbert Walker Bush. Price's party gained forty-seven U.S. House seats nationally but still remained in the minority.

While in the House, Price served on the House Agriculture Committee and on the Manned Space Flight and NASA Oversight subcommittees. He was reelected in 1968 with a 65.2 percent margin and was unopposed in 1970.

In 1972, Price faced a closer race from Democratic Congressman Graham Boynton Purcell, Jr., of Wichita Falls, a fellow incumbent. After redistricting, Price was in District 13. 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. Price was defeated by Democrat Jack Hightower of Vernon. Hightower had a solid majority, 53,094 (57.6 percent) to Price's 39,087 (42.4 percent). Hightower's winning total was nearly 20,000 below Purcell's losing tally in 1972. More than half of Price's 1972 supporters deserted him.

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

Later election results

Price was elected to the Texas State Senate in a special election in 1977. He used the slogan "Price is Right for Texas." He held the seat for a partial term, 1978-1980.

In 1988, when Republican Congressman Beau Boulter of Amarillo stepped down to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, Price entered the primary to succeed Boulter but lost the party nomination to Larry Milner. The seat nevertheless went to a Democrat in the fall, State Senator Bill Sarpalius. Sarpalius polled 52.5 percent, to Milner's 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, when he lost to Dick Waterfield, and 1992, when he lost to Boulter. Both Waterfield and Boulter were 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 Club.

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 by two sons, Grant Price and Carl Benjamin Price (married to Kelly Price); daughter, Janice Price Johnson (married to Marc Johnson), and brother, Benjamin F. Price, Jr. (married to Ruth Price), of Reading, Kansas. Price had seven grandchildren -- Nicholas, Miles, and Elise are Janice's, and Courtney, Grayson, Bridget, and Daniella are Carl's. He is interred in Fairview Cemetery in Pampa. His long time canine companion "Waggs" soon followed Price in death.


* "Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections", U.S. House

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