Tammy Baldwin ContactBack to top
Address: 717 HSOB, DC 20510
Phone: (608) 264-5338
Address: 14 West Mifflin Street, Madison WI 53703
Phone: (414) 297-4451
Fax: (414) 297-4455
Address: 310 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee WI 53203
Phone: (715) 832-8424
Fax: (715) 832-8492
Address: 402 Graham Avenue, Eau Claire WI 54701
Phone: (608) 796-0045
Fax: (608) 796-0089
Address: 205 Fifth Avenue, South, La Crosse WI 54601
Tammy Baldwin StaffBack to top
Tammy Baldwin CommitteesBack to top
Tammy Baldwin BiographyBack to top
- Elected: 2012, term expires 2018, 1st term.
- State: Wisconsin
- Born: Feb. 11, 1962, Madison
- Home: Madison
Smith College, B.A., 1984; University of Wisconsin, J.D., 1989
- Professional Career:
Practicing attorney, 1989-1992
- Political Career:
Dane County Board of Supervisors, 1986-1994; Wisconsin Assembly, 1992-98; U.S. House, 1998-2012
- Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
No religious affiliation
- Family: Single
Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin’s junior senator, is the first openly gay person to serve in the U.S. Senate, and she is the first woman elected to the Senate from Wisconsin. In 2012, the former House member defeated former Gov. Tommy Thompson for the open seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl.
Baldwin grew up in Madison, where she was raised by her mother, a University of Wisconsin student when Tammy was born, and her maternal grandparents, a UW biochemist and the theater department’s head costume designer. She graduated first in her class at Madison West High School and went on to Smith College and UW law school. In 1986, at age 24 and still in law school, she was elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors. In 1992, she was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly.
Six years later, when moderate Republican Scott Klug honored his promise to serve only four terms in the U.S. House, Baldwin got into the race, along with three other Democrats and six Republicans. As a woman who favored abortion rights, she was supported by EMILY’s List, which helped her raise about one-quarter of her $1.5 million campaign chest. Baldwin won with 37% of the vote, then beat former state Insurance Commissioner Jo Musser in the general election. Having come out as a lesbian during her college years, Baldwin became the first openly gay non-incumbent to win a seat in the House.
Baldwin’s voting record consistently was one of the most liberal in the House. She had a coveted seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, but with the chamber in Republican hands, her ability to accomplish many of her progressive goals was limited. She had been sharply critical of many GOP proposals, including the controversial budget proposal of Rep. Paul Ryan, also from Wisconsin, and of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s equally controversial proposal to limit collective bargaining rights for state workers, the issue that touched off a recall campaign against Walker.
Baldwin’s driving issue has been guaranteed health care for all Americans. She supported the Democrats’ 2010 overhaul of the health insurance system even though it dropped a government-run “public option” to compete with private insurers, a provision she favored. She has also been at the forefront of the opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriages. In 2008, she and Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank created the House Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equality Caucus. An outspoken opponent of the Iraq war, she signed on as a cosponsor of Democrat Dennis Kucinich’s 2007 resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney for “deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war” and other suspected crimes.
After Baldwin decided to run for Kohl’s seat, she was unchallenged in the Democratic primary, giving her ample time to organize her campaign and raise money. Thompson, meanwhile, had to first get past three more conservative candidates in the Republican primary. Nevertheless, he started with a lead over Baldwin in the general election campaign, prompting her to move quickly. She and her allies outspent Thompson and his backers by 3-to-1 in the weeks after the primary. It turned into an unrelentingly negative race, with the two candidates squabbling over everything from Thompson’s investments to who cared more about the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Baldwin ran a disciplined race, seeking to convince voters that she would be more attuned to the needs of Wisconsin than the 70-year-old Thompson, a former Health and Human Services secretary under George W. Bush who hadn’t been a candidate for office in 14 years. Realizing it made little sense to attack Thompson’s gubernatorial record, which many Wisconsinites of both parties still remembered fondly, Baldwin instead blasted Thompson with negative television ads about his post-gubernatorial career, highlighting especially his work for a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm. Her attacks caused Thompson’s negatives to skyrocket. Meanwhile, Baldwin downplayed her liberal views in favor of taking populist stands against China’s trade policies and highlighting her work across the aisle.
Thompson and Republicans accused Baldwin of being a radical, with his campaign releasing an ad citing her 2006 vote against a resolution honoring victims of the September 11 attacks. Baldwin said that Republicans had added provisions to the resolution commending other policies that she opposed, such as the USA Patriot Act. Her campaign fired back with an ad of its own, accusing Thompson of profiting off the victims. One outside analysis of both campaigns’ ads found that over a 30-day period, 99% were negative.
In the end, the moderate Thompson’s attempts to appear more conservative—he told a tea party group that he wanted to “do away with the Medicare and Medicaid,” a departure from his previous positions—rang hollow with voters. The former governor failed to attract a significant number of Democratic crossover voters, and Baldwin won 51% to 46%.Show Less
Tammy Baldwin Election ResultsBack to top
House: 2010 (62%), 2008 (69%), 2006 (63%), 2004 (63%), 2002 (66%), 2000 (51%), 1998 (53%)