John Yarmuth is a Jewish American politician who currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives from Kentucky.
Yarmuth was elected as the representative of Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District on November 7, 2006. Yarmuth faced three challengers in the Democratic primary in May 2006 - Iraq war veteran and lawyer Andrew Horne, engineer James Moore, and perennial candidate Burrel Charles Farnsley. Yarmuth won with 54% of the vote. He then challenged republican five-term incumbent Anne Northup in the general election, winning 51% of the vote compared to Northup’s 48%. In 2014 Yarmuth won his re-election campaign, defeating challengers Michael Macfarlane and Greg Puccetti.
After graduating from Yale in 1969, Yarmuth associated himself with the Republican Party. From 1971 to 1975 he worked for Senator Marlow Cook, however once the Senator lost his seat, Yarmuth returned to Louisville to establish the magazine, Louisville Today (1976-1982). He worked as assistant vice president for University Relations at the University of Louisville from 1983-1986 and then worked in public relations and marketing for Caretenders Healthcorp from 1986-1990.
In 1985, Yarmuth switched to the Democratic Party because he disagreed with the Reagan Administration and felt the Republican Party no longer welcomed diverse views. He then discovered his beliefs were much more in line with the Democratic Party.
Yarmuth founded the Louisville Eccentric Observer Weekly (LEO) in 1990 and served as its publisher, editor, and columnist. In his column called Hot Coals, Yarmuth would advocate for Democratic policies. LEO currently has about 150,000 readers each month and has won almost 100 Metro Louisville Journalism Awards, of which Yarmuth has won 16 for his own writings. Yarmuth sold LEO in 2003, but continued writing his columns until he decided to run for Congress.
In 2003, Yarmuth and John Ziegler talked politics every week on “Yarmuth & Ziegler” on WAVE 3 TV. In a successor program, “Hot Button,” Yarmuth debated Jim Milliman from September 2004 to December 2005.
Yarmuth edits and owns Kentucky Golfer, rates Golf courses for Golf Digest magazine, and serves on the board of the Kentucky Golf Association. He is the founder and president of the Center for Kentucky Progress, a progressive think tank on Kentucky issues. Yarmuth also serves as a director of the Jewish Community Center, the Society of Professional Journalists, Planned Parenthood, and the Louisville Forum.