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Rep. John Deffenbaugh


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John Vernon Deffenbaugh (R-Lookout Mountain)

HD 1 (Dade & Walker counties)

 Legislative website

Campaign website

Voting record

Born: 1944


John Deffenbaugh

John Deffenbaugh

Rep. John Deffenbaugh was tardy with two financial disclosures in 2012, missing the deadline for his first campaign report by two weeks and for his first personal financial disclosure by five weeks. He subsequently paid $250 in late fees. 

Political career

  • Elected in 1996 to the Dade County Commission, serving a four-year term and losing a 2000 bid for re-election.
  • Lost campaigns in 2004 and 2008 for Dade County executive.
  • Elected to the House in 2012 after winning a primary runoff by 97 votes.
  • Re-elected in 2014, winning a primary runoff with 55% of the vote.

Committee assignments

  • Banking (2015 – present)
  • Defense & Veterans Affairs (2013 – present)
  • Regulated Industries (2013 – present)
  • Small Business Development (2015 – present)
  • Transportation (2013 – present)


  • Semi-retired sales manager, Horizon Electronics, Chattanooga, Tenn. Deffenbaugh listed no employment on his 2012 disclosure, but he acknowledged in an interview that he still works for Horizon a few days a week. The company lists Deffenbaugh as a contact on its website.

Business ownership interests

  • None disclosed.

Fiduciary positions

  • President, Wayside Estates Homeowners Association, Lookout Mountain, Ga.

Real estate holdings

  • Personal residence in Lookout Mountain valued at $212,000 (owned by his wife)

Other investments

  • None disclosed.

Payments from state agencies

  • None disclosed.

Campaign contributions

Donors have given more than $132,000 to Deffenbaugh’s campaign committee since 2012. The breakdown by election cycle:

  • 2012: $18,848
  • 2013-14: $111,768
  • 2015-16: $1,600
  • Likely cash on hand (January 2016): $46,925

Top donors

  • $69,325 House Speaker David Ralston & other Republican legislators
  • $3,463 William Chapin, owner See Rock City Inc.
  • $3,000 Stanley Payne, Lookout Mountain, Ga., retired
  • $1,900 Georgia Dental Association
  • $1,500 Ken Bruce, Summerville, Ga., attorney
  • $1,500 Altria Client Services Inc.
  • $1,250 Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association
  • $1,250 Georgia Optometric Association

Campaign spending

  • Deffenbaugh’s disclosures show his campaign reimbursed him $123 for cellphone use without specifying the end recipient, as required by state campaign finance rules. Deffenbaugh said he thought he had disclosed the end recipient, which was Sprint.
  • The campaign has paid Southern Magnolia LLC and The Sassafras Group LLC — both founded by Denise Deal, Gov. Nathan Deal’s daughter-in-law — $6,068 for fund-raising since 2012.

Campaign-to-campaign donations

Candidates may give campaign funds to other candidates, a practice that some advocates believe provides a legal means to circumvent contribution limits. A 2003 bill to ban such transfers altogether passed in the Senate but died in the House. Deffenbaugh’s campaign made these donations:

  • 2014: $500
  • 2015: $150

Lobbyist gifts

Lobbyists have reported paying $1,024 for meals and other gifts for Deffenbaugh since 2012. The big spender: Georgia Association of Manufacturers ($187). 

  • 2012: $97
  • 2013: $239
  • 2014: $148
  • 2015: $538 through Nov. 30

Committee days & travel expenses

When the Legislature is out of session, members may collect $173 per diem, plus mileage, for committee meetings or other official business. Lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, which were originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging. Here’s the annual breakdown, based on the year in which the expenses were paid:

  • 2013: $346 (2 days)
  • 2014: $480 (2 days)

Posted April 10, 2013; updated Jan. 3, 2016





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