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

Biography

Elected: 2012, term expires 2018, 1st term.

Born: September 29, 1955, Queens, NY

Home: Granger

Education: University of Notre Dame, B.A. 1977, J.D. 1981

Professional Career: Owner, Marking Solutions, 1996-2006; practicing lawyer, 1981-96

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: Married (Jill Donnelly) , 2 children

The new junior senator from Indiana is Democrat Joe Donnelly, a former House member who won a 2012 race against Richard Mourdock, a tea party-backed Republican who inadvertently helped Donnelly to victory by making incendiary comments on rape and abortion.

Donnelly was born in Queens, N.Y., and grew up on Long Island’s South Shore. He attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., earning an undergraduate degree in government and then a law degree. He practiced law in the area until 1996, when he opened Marking Solutions, a printing and rubber stamp company. Donnelly served on the state election board in 1988 and 1989, but his early bids for public office were disappointing, to say the least. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general in 1988, failed in a bid for the state Senate in 1990, and then lost his first attempt at a seat in Congress in 2004. However, he came close in the latter contest, holding Republican Rep. Chris Chocola to 54% to his 45% in Indiana’s 2nd District.

The year 2006 was much more difficult for Republicans like Chocola nationally, and Donnelly made President George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq war an issue. Although Chocola again outspent him 2-to-1, it seemed it was finally Donnelly’s year. He beat his rival, 54% to 46%. “In an era of screamers and cable-TV rock stars filling congressional seats, Donnelly has spent his time on Capitol Hill calmly and quietly working on the issues of the day,” the Indianapolis Star observed. An opponent of abortion rights, Donnelly urged Democratic leaders to advance a moderate agenda in Congress. He also joined the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition.

He went his own way on some issues and was among 12 Democrats to vote against the budget in 2007. He also opposed the 2009 bill seeking to create a cap-and-trade system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He backed the House version of the health care overhaul but was among the anti-abortion Democrats who withheld their support of the final version until President Barack Obama agreed to issue an executive order reaffirming the government’s ban on funding abortion-related services. Donnelly also refused to support liberal Nancy Pelosi of California for Democratic leader in 2011.

Donnelly focused on veterans’ issues, working with Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., to expedite veterans’ claims, and he got a bill through the House in 2010 to speed up the processing of veterans’ benefits. On the Financial Services Committee, he backed the fall 2008 bailouts for the financial firms and automobile companies. In 2009, he got the House to include recreational vehicles, many of which were made in his district, in an advanced vehicle technology research bill.

When Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer and a favorite of the tea party, toppled iconic six-term Sen. Dick Lugar in the GOP primary, his supporters saw the general election largely as a formality. But Mourdock’s bid got off to a rough start. Within hours of winning the nomination, he made several appearances on cable and broadcast television shows suggesting that he doesn’t believe in compromise. He said on Fox News Channel, “I have a mind-set that says bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view.” The remark allowed Donnelly and Democrats to paint him as an extremist.

Mourdock worked to tie Donnelly to Obama, calling Donnelly “Obama Joe” in TV ads. But in October, he uttered what may be remembered—along with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s comment about “legitimate rape”—as the most explosive remark of the 2012 election. Asked about the right to abortion in cases of rape, he said: “Life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

A subsequent Democratic poll showed Donnelly with a seven-point lead over Mourdock and Libertarian Andrew Horning. In endorsing Donnelly, the Star said, “It was clear even before the latest controversy that Donnelly was better prepared than his Republican rival to represent the state and the nation effectively in the Senate.” Donnelly won, 50% to 44%. Horning got 6%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-4814

(202) 224-5011

HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building Room 720
Washington, DC 20510-1406

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-4814

(202) 224-5011

HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building Room 720
Washington, DC 20510-1406

DISTRICT OFFICE

(317) 226-5555

(855) 772-7518

115 North Pennsylvania Street Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46204

DISTRICT OFFICE

(317) 226-5555

(855) 772-7518

115 North Pennsylvania Street Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46204

DISTRICT OFFICE

(574) 288-2780

(574) 288-2825

107 West Colfax Avenue
South Bend, IN 46601-1606

DISTRICT OFFICE

(574) 288-2780

(574) 288-2825

107 West Colfax Avenue
South Bend, IN 46601-1606

DISTRICT OFFICE

(812) 425-5862

(812) 425-5817

123 NW Fourth Street Suite 417
Evansville, IN 47708

DISTRICT OFFICE

(812) 425-5862

(812) 425-5817

123 NW Fourth Street Suite 417
Evansville, IN 47708

DISTRICT OFFICE

(260) 420-4955

(260) 420-4930

203 East Berry Street Suite 702-B
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

DISTRICT OFFICE

(260) 420-4955

(260) 420-4930

203 East Berry Street Suite 702-B
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

DISTRICT OFFICE

(219) 852-0089

(219) 852-0729

5400 Federal Plaza Suite 3200
Hammond, IN 46320

DISTRICT OFFICE

(219) 852-0089

(219) 852-0729

5400 Federal Plaza Suite 3200
Hammond, IN 46320

DISTRICT OFFICE

(812) 284-2027

(812) 284-2044

702 North Shore Drive Suite LL-101
Jeffersonville, IN 47130

DISTRICT OFFICE

(812) 284-2027

(812) 284-2044

702 North Shore Drive Suite LL-101
Jeffersonville, IN 47130

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Katie Campbell
Legislative Assistant

Devin Benavidez
Legislative Aide

Agriculture

Chase Kitchen
Legislative Assistant

Kent Yeager
Agriculture Liaison

Lauren Varga
Regional Director

Megan Hrdlicka
Legislative Correspondent

Appropriations

Nick Catino
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Black
Legislative Correspondent

Arts

Katie Campbell
Legislative Assistant

Devin Benavidez
Legislative Aide

Budget

Nick Catino
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Black
Legislative Correspondent

Campaign

Carlos Arredondo
Legislative Correspondent

Economics

Nick Catino
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Black
Legislative Correspondent

Education

Katie Campbell
Legislative Assistant

Devin Benavidez
Legislative Aide

Energy

Chase Kitchen
Legislative Assistant

Lauren Varga
Regional Director

Megan Hrdlicka
Legislative Correspondent

Environment

Chase Kitchen
Legislative Assistant

Lauren Varga
Regional Director

Megan Hrdlicka
Legislative Correspondent

Finance

Nick Catino
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Black
Legislative Correspondent

Foreign

Ryan Uyehara
Legislative Correspondent

Rachel Lipsey
Military Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Carlos Arredondo
Legislative Correspondent

Grants

Marianne Black
Grants Director

Gun Issues

Carlos Arredondo
Legislative Correspondent

Health

Katie Campbell
Legislative Assistant

Devin Benavidez
Legislative Aide

Homeland Security

Ryan Uyehara
Legislative Correspondent

Rachel Lipsey
Military Legislative Assistant

Human Rights

Immigration

Carlos Arredondo
Legislative Correspondent

Intelligence

Rachel Lipsey
Military Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Carlos Arredondo
Legislative Correspondent

Labor

Katie Campbell
Legislative Assistant

Nick Catino
Legislative Assistant

Devin Benavidez
Legislative Aide

Ryan Black
Legislative Correspondent

Medicare

Katie Campbell
Legislative Assistant

Devin Benavidez
Legislative Aide

Military

Ryan Uyehara
Legislative Correspondent

Rachel Lipsey
Military Legislative Assistant

Rules

Carlos Arredondo
Legislative Correspondent

Science

Chase Kitchen
Legislative Assistant

Lauren Varga
Regional Director

Megan Hrdlicka
Legislative Correspondent

Seniors

Katie Campbell
Legislative Assistant

Devin Benavidez
Legislative Aide

Small Business

Nick Catino
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Black
Legislative Correspondent

Social Security

Katie Campbell
Legislative Assistant

Devin Benavidez
Legislative Aide

Tax

Nick Catino
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Black
Legislative Correspondent

Technology

Chase Kitchen
Legislative Assistant

Rachel Lipsey
Military Legislative Assistant

Lauren Varga
Regional Director

Megan Hrdlicka
Legislative Correspondent

Telecommunications

Carlos Arredondo
Legislative Correspondent

Trade

Nick Catino
Legislative Assistant

Ryan Black
Legislative Correspondent

Transportation

Chase Kitchen
Legislative Assistant

Lauren Varga
Regional Director

Megan Hrdlicka
Legislative Correspondent

Veterans

Ryan Uyehara
Legislative Correspondent

Rachel Lipsey
Military Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Joe Donnelly
Votes: 1,281,181
Percent: 50.04%
Richard Mourdock
Votes: 1,133,621
Percent: 44.28%
Andrew Horning
Votes: 145,282
Percent: 5.67%
2012 PRIMARY
Joe Donnelly
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
House: 2010 (48%), 2008 (67%), 2006 (54%)

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