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Analysis

Who Are the Healthcare Leaders on the Midterm Ballot?

By Jack O'Brien  
   November 05, 2018

HealthLeaders has put together its final list of the physicians, nurses, surgeons, and healthcare executives competing in races across the country in the midterm elections.

When HealthLeaders issued its first list in April of the healthcare leaders running for public office, there were more than 60 candidates with relevant healthcare backgrounds out on the campaign trail. Now, that list has nearly been halved, with 35 candidates still remaining. 

This collection of healthcare leaders includes registered nurses, former insurance company executives, physicians, and former government health policy leaders. 

In an election decidedly marked by voter interest on healthcare, these leaders are eyeing to shape policy by bringing their industry experience to both houses of Congress as well as the governor's mansion in their respective states.

Check out the list below to see which healthcare players are running for office or reelection.

Senate races:

Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is the Republican nominee in Senate race against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen, D-Tenn., is the Democratic nominee in Senate race to replace outgoing Republican incumbent Bob Corker.

  • Bredesen founded HealthAmerica Corp., an insurance company that he sold his controlling interest in 1986.

Bob Hugin, R-N.J., is the Republican nominee in Senate race against Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez.

  • Hugin is the former CEO of Celgene Corp.

State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, R-W.V., is the Republican nominee in Senate race against Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin.

  • As partner at King & Spalding, Morrisey focused the majority of his work on healthcare legislation.

  • He served as both deputy staff director and chief health counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  

State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wisc., is the Republican nominee in Senate race against Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin.

  • Vukmir worked as a nurse.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., running for reelection.

  • Barrasso is an orthopedic surgeon.

House races:

Dr. Dawn Barlow, D-Tenn., is the Democratic nominee in House race to replace outgoing Republican incumbent Diane Black.

  • Barlow serves as director of hospital medicine at Livingston Regional Hospital.

Jim Maxwell, MD, R-N.Y., is the Republican nominee in House race to replace deceased Democratic incumbent Louise Slaughter.

  • Maxwell is a neurosurgeon affiliated with Rochester General Hospital.

Mel Hall, D-Ind., is the Democratic nominee in House race against Republican incumbent Jackie Walorski.

  • Hall formerly served as CEO of Press Ganey, a patient satisfaction firm.

Lauren Underwood, RN, D-Illi., is the Democratic nominee in House race against Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren.

  • Underwood is a registered nurse.

  • She also served as a senior advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama.

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., is the Democratic nominee in House race to replace outgoing Republican incumbent Frank LoBiondo.

  • Van Drew is a dentist.

Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, D-Ariz., is the Democratic nominee in House race against Republican incumbent Debbie Lasko.

Former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, D-Fla., is the Democratic nominee in House race to replace outgoing Republican incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

  • Shalala is the longest-serving HHS Secretary in history, serving eight years under former President Bill Clinton.

Dr. Steve Ferrara, R-Ariz., is the Republican nominee in House race to replace outgoing Democratic incumbent Kyrsten Sinema.

  • Ferrara is an interventional radiologist.

Dr. Matt Longjohn, D-Mich., is the Democratic nominee in House race against Republican incumbent Fred Upton.

  • Longjohn is a physician.

  • He also served as the first National Health Officer for the YMCA. 

Dr. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., is the Democratic nominee in House race to replace outgoing Republican incumbent Dave Reichert.

  • Schrier is a pediatrician.

Related: Collected Profiles of Healthcare Leaders Running in the Midterms

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, running for reelection.

  • Wenstrup is a physician.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., running for reelection.

  • DesJarlais is a physician.

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, running for reelection.

  • Burgess is a physician.

Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., running for reelection.

  • Bera served as Chief Medical Officer of Sacramento County.

Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., running for reelection.

  • Dunn is a surgeon.  

Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., running for reelection.

  • Ferguson is a dentist.

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, running for reelection.

  • Simpson is a dentist.

Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-In., running for reelection.

  • Buchson is a heart surgeon.

Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, running for reelection.

  • Marshall is an obstetrician.

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., running for reelection.

  • Harris is an anesthesiologist.

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., running for reelection.

  • Roe is an OB/GYN.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, running for reelection.

  • Johnson was the first nurse elected to Congress in 1993.

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., running for reelection.

  • Ruiz is a physician.

Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., running for reelection.

  • Abraham is a physician.

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., running for reelection

  • Moulton founded Eastern Healthcare Partners in 2011.

Gubernatorial elections:

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., is the Democratic nominee in the gubernatorial race to replace outgoing Republican incumbent Susana Martinez.

  • Grisham previously served as head of the state's Department of Health.

State Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Ore., is the Republican nominee in the gubernatorial race against Democratic incumbent Kate Brown.

  • Buehler works as an orthopedic surgeon at the Center for Orthopedic and Neurosurgical Care and Research.

  • He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Ford Family Foundation and St. Charles Health System.

Gov. Charlie Baker, R-Mass., running for reelection.

  • Baker served in the state department of health and human services under two governors in the 1990s.

  • He also served as CEO of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates beginning in 1998.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa, running for reelection.

  • Reynolds worked as a pharmacist assistant.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders. 


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