Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2008, 3rd term.

Born: November 21, 1970, Philadelphia, PA

Home: Tequesta

Education: Washington & Jefferson Col., B.A., 1993; U. of FL, M.A., 1996; U. of Miami, J.D., 1999.

Professional Career: FL asst. atty. gen., 2004-05; CEO, Children's Place at HomeSafe, 2005-06.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: married (Tara) , 3 children

Tom Rooney, a Republican elected in 2008, is a former military prosecutor and West Point instructor who holds the firmly conservative views that such a background suggests. But in a highly polarized House, Rooney is unusual for how often he actively has worked with Democrats on issues of common interest.

The grandson of Pittsburgh Steelers founding owner Art Rooney, he was born in Philadelphia and was a water boy for the team. (The Steelers were his largest single campaign contributor between 2008 and 2012.) His cousin is actress Rooney Mara, best known for her role in the movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. When he was 14, his father moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where his family owned the Palm Beach Kennel Club, a racetrack and gambling business. Rooney briefly attended Syracuse University, where he earned a spot as a tight end and deep snapper for the Orangemen. But with no desire for a professional football career, Rooney transferred to the smaller Washington and Jefferson College just outside Pittsburgh, where he played both football and golf. He was a staff assistant for former Republican Sen. Connie Mack of Florida for a brief period, and then got a law degree from the University of Miami, where he met his wife, Tara. After graduation, Rooney was a special assistant U.S. attorney at Fort Hood in Texas, and later taught constitutional and criminal law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. When Republican Charlie Crist became the Florida attorney general, he hired Rooney as an assistant attorney general in 2004. After leaving the attorney general’s office, he headed a home for abused children and, in 2006, entered private law practice in Stuart.

Rooney was first elected to Florida’s 16th District (later dramatically redrawn in 2010 reapportionment). In the 2008 primary, Rooney secured endorsements from Mack and Crist, who had since become governor. The governor’s endorsement riled the other two candidates, state Rep. Gayle Harrell and former Palm Beach Gardens City Councilman Hal Valeche, who pointed to the campaign contributions Crist had received from Rooney’s family. Rooney won the primary by only 1,011 votes over Harrell, 36.7%-34.9%.

In the general election, Rooney challenged freshman Democrat Tim Mahoney. Rooney faced relatively long odds and Mahoney looked to be headed for an easy reelection, outpacing Rooney in fundraising and maintaining a solid lead in most polls throughout the fall. But then on Oct. 13, ABC News broke the story that Mahoney had paid a former aide $121,000 to keep quiet about their affair after he ended the relationship and fired her. The incumbent admitted to having “multiple affairs” while in Congress, but asserted he had done nothing to violate his oath of office. Rooney shot up nearly 25 points in the polls. Still, Mahoney declined to end his campaign, even after Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for an Ethics Committee investigation into the payment. Mahoney’s financial contributions quickly dried up. Rooney won easily with 60% of the vote.

In the House, he joined the Republican whip team and was given a seat on the Intelligence Committee. But he has shown a repeated willingness to cross party lines and challenge his party’s leaders. He sponsored a controversial House-passed resolution in February 2011 to cut $450 million in Pentagon spending, including a project near Republican Speaker John Boehner’s Ohio district to build a second engine for the F-35 jet fighter. He joined with Rep. Michael McMahon, a New York Democrat, in taking up the cause of improving mental health in the military, and the two got a provision into the fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill requiring confidential one-on-one screening for all returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Rooney also worked with Florida Democrat Ted Deutch – with whom he occasionally plays in a rock band – on a 2011 measure that became law to help homeless veterans. And he was the lead sponsor of a bipartisan measure that passed the Judiciary Committee in February 2012 to ban the import or interstate trade of Burmese pythons and eight other species of snakes that have decimated native animal populations in the Everglades.

But Rooney’s bipartisanship has its limits. After joining the Agriculture Committee in mid-2010, he became an outspoken critic of efforts to lift the ban on travel and food sales to Cuba. He has taken a strong stand against illegal immigration, introducing a bill in 2010 to require incarcerated illegal immigrants to be deported as soon as they are released from jail. He pushed a measure in 2011 to deny the Environmental Protection Agency the ability to enforce water pollution rules that agricultural interests deemed overly harsh. “I want to be the environmental congressman for my district,” Rooney told EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at a hearing. “But I also represent a lot of farmers.” He was one of five House Republicans in July 2012 who called for an investigation into whether State Department aide Huma Abedin tried to improperly influence U.S. policy in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood – an unfounded accusation it turns out that drew strong criticism from Boehner and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

In 2010, Rooney sailed to reelection with 67% of the vote. After redistricting two years later, he moved to the new, more rural district 17th District, stretching from the conservative farmlands near Lake Okeechobee to the heavily Republican southwest Gulf Coast, and won with 59%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5792

(202) 225-3132

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2160
Washington, DC 20515-0917

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5792

(202) 225-3132

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2160
Washington, DC 20515-0917

DISTRICT OFFICE

(813) 677-8646

(813) 677-8698

10008 Park Place Avenue
Riverview, FL 33578-5303

DISTRICT OFFICE

(813) 677-8646

(813) 677-8698

10008 Park Place Avenue
Riverview, FL 33578-5303

DISTRICT OFFICE

(941) 575-9101

(941) 575-9103

226 Taylor Street Suite 230
Punta Gorda, FL 33950-4459

DISTRICT OFFICE

(941) 575-9101

(941) 575-9103

226 Taylor Street Suite 230
Punta Gorda, FL 33950-4459

DISTRICT OFFICE

(863) 402-9082

(863) 402-9084

4507 George Boulevard
Sebring, FL 33875

DISTRICT OFFICE

(863) 402-9082

(863) 402-9084

4507 George Boulevard
Sebring, FL 33875

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

1133 Bal Harbor Boulevard
Punta Gorda, FL 33950

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

1133 Bal Harbor Boulevard
Punta Gorda, FL 33950

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Andrew Callahan
Legislative Assistant

Acquisitions

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Agriculture

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Andrew Callahan
Legislative Assistant

Banking

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Budget

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Campaign

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Commerce

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Communication

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Education

Andrew Callahan
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Andrew Callahan
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Family

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Gun Issues

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Health

Andrew Callahan
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Housing

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Insurance

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Intelligence

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Internet

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Military

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Andrew Callahan
Legislative Assistant

Minorities

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Privacy

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Public Works

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Recreation

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Tax

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Technology

Andrew Callahan
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Andrew Callahan
Legislative Assistant

Trade

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Transportation

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Andrew Callahan
Legislative Assistant

Welfare

Jessica Moore
Legislative Director

Women

Clay Hollis
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Tom Rooney
Votes: 165,488
Percent: 58.63%
William Bronson
Votes: 116,766
Percent: 41.37%
2012 PRIMARY
Tom Rooney
Votes: 37,881
Percent: 73.2%
Joe Arnold
Votes: 13,871
Percent: 26.8%
2010 GENERAL
Tom Rooney
Votes: 162,285
Percent: 66.85%
Jim Horn
Votes: 80,327
Percent: 33.09%
2010 PRIMARY
Tom Rooney
Unopposed
2008 GENERAL
Tom Rooney
Votes: 209,874
Percent: 60.09%
Tim Mahoney
Votes: 139,373
Percent: 39.91%
2008 PRIMARY
Tom Rooney
Votes: 20,637
Percent: 36.73%
Gayle Harrell
Votes: 19,626
Percent: 34.93%
Hal Valeche
Votes: 15,916
Percent: 28.33%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (67%), 2008 (60%)

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