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Democrat

Sen. Ben Cardin (D)

Ben Cardin Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-224-4524

Address: 509 HSOB, DC 20510

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (410) 962-4436

Address: 100 South Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201

Bowie MD

Phone: (301) 860-0414

Fax: (301) 860-0416

Address: 10201 Martin Luther King Jr. Highway, Bowie MD 20720

Cumberland MD

Phone: (301) 777-2957

Fax: (301) 777-2959

Address: 13 Canal Street, Cumberland MD 21502

Rockville MD

Phone: (301) 762-0912

Fax: (301) 762-2976

Address: 451 Hungerford Drive, Rockville MD 21803

Salisbury MD

Phone: (410) 546-4250

Fax: (410) 545-4252

Address: 212 West Main Street, Salisbury MD 21801

Ben Cardin Staff
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Sort by INTEREST NAME TITLE
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Bell, Beth
Legislative Assistant
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Smith, Sarenka
Legislative Correspondent
Bell, Beth
Legislative Assistant
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Smith, Sarenka
Legislative Correspondent
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Cohen, Joel
Legislative Correspondent
Hecht, Margot
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Cohen, Joel
Legislative Correspondent
Sajery, Algene
Senior Foreign Policy Advisor
Wilson, David
Military Legislative Fellow
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Bell, Beth
Legislative Assistant
Hecht, Margot
Legislative Aide
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Smith, Sarenka
Legislative Correspondent
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Hecht, Margot
Legislative Aide
Sajery, Algene
Senior Foreign Policy Advisor
Swaine, Kelly
State Department Fellow
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Cohen, Joel
Legislative Correspondent
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Cohen, Joel
Legislative Correspondent
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Bell, Beth
Legislative Assistant
Hecht, Margot
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Cohen, Joel
Legislative Correspondent
Kullen, Sue
Regional Representative
Hecht, Margot
Legislative Aide
Sajery, Algene
Senior Foreign Policy Advisor
Swaine, Kelly
State Department Fellow
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Hecht, Margot
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Hecht, Margot
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Kullen, Sue
Regional Representative
Cohen, Joel
Legislative Correspondent
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Cohen, Joel
Legislative Correspondent
Sajery, Algene
Senior Foreign Policy Advisor
Wilson, David
Military Legislative Fellow
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Bell, Beth
Legislative Assistant
Smith, Sarenka
Legislative Correspondent
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Kullen, Sue
Regional Representative
Bell, Beth
Legislative Assistant
Smith, Sarenka
Legislative Correspondent
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Bell, Beth
Legislative Assistant
Hecht, Margot
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Smith, Sarenka
Legislative Correspondent
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Cohen, Joel
Legislative Correspondent
Wilson, David
Military Legislative Fellow
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Anand, Nina
Speechwriter
Bell, Beth
Legislative Assistant
Buchsbaum, Andy
Systems Administrator
Campbell, Heather
Field Representative
Cohen, Joel
Legislative Correspondent
Cohen, Renee
Field Representative
Daiger, Amy
Administrative Manager
Green, Max
Staff Assistant
Hecht, Margot
Legislative Aide
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Kullen, Sue
Regional Representative
Leviton, Joyce
Assistant to the Senator
Pasternak, Marli
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff
Reichard, Ken
Field Representative
Sajery, Algene
Senior Foreign Policy Advisor
Smith, Sarenka
Legislative Correspondent
Stephens, Jerome
Field Representative
Swaine, Kelly
State Department Fellow
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Vrabel, Beth
Healthy Policy Advisor
Walitsky, Sue
National Communications Director
Warner, Claire
Scheduling Assistant
Welch, Marty
Deputy Press Secretary
Wilson, David
Military Legislative Fellow
Yamada, Debbie
Administrative Director; Scheduler
Zink, Tim
Press Secretary
Buchsbaum, Andy
Systems Administrator
Klein, Josh
Senior Policy Advisor
Sajery, Algene
Senior Foreign Policy Advisor
Vrabel, Beth
Healthy Policy Advisor
Hecht, Margot
Legislative Aide
Thomas, Mike
Legislative Aide
Leviton, Joyce
Assistant to the Senator
Pasternak, Marli
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff
Walitsky, Sue
National Communications Director
Welch, Marty
Deputy Press Secretary
Yamada, Debbie
Administrative Director; Scheduler
Swaine, Kelly
State Department Fellow
Wilson, David
Military Legislative Fellow
Bell, Beth
Legislative Assistant
Jacobs, Ann
Legislative Assistant
Cohen, Joel
Legislative Correspondent
Smith, Sarenka
Legislative Correspondent
Daiger, Amy
Administrative Manager
Zink, Tim
Press Secretary
Campbell, Heather
Field Representative
Cohen, Renee
Field Representative
Kullen, Sue
Regional Representative
Reichard, Ken
Field Representative
Stephens, Jerome
Field Representative
Warner, Claire
Scheduling Assistant
Yamada, Debbie
Administrative Director; Scheduler
Anand, Nina
Speechwriter
Green, Max
Staff Assistant
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Ben Cardin Committees
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Ben Cardin Biography
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  • Elected: 2006, term expires 2018, 2nd term.
  • State: Maryland
  • Born: Oct. 05, 1943, Baltimore
  • Home: Baltimore
  • Education:

    U. of Pittsburgh, B.A. 1964, U. of MD, LL.B., J.D. 1967

  • Professional Career:

    Practicing atty., 1967–86; Ways & Means Committee, MD, 1974-79; Chmn., MD Legal Services Corp., 1988-95.

  • Political Career:

    MD House, 1966–86, Speaker, 1979–86; U.S. House, 1986-2006.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Jewish

  • Family: Married (Myrna); 2 (1 deceased) children

Ben Cardin, a Democrat elected in 2006 as Maryland’s junior senator, long has been one of Congress’ workhorses. An unabashed wonk with an agreeable personality, he evinces curiosity about a wide range of topics as well as a sincere interest in the nitty-gritty of shaping policy. Read More

Ben Cardin, a Democrat elected in 2006 as Maryland’s junior senator, long has been one of Congress’ workhorses. An unabashed wonk with an agreeable personality, he evinces curiosity about a wide range of topics as well as a sincere interest in the nitty-gritty of shaping policy.

Cardin is one of the many bright politicos who came from the Jewish neighborhoods of northwest Baltimore, the son and nephew of state legislators, a man who was elected to the state House at the age of 23—as soon as he was eligible to run. After serving four years as Ways and Means chairman in Annapolis, he became House speaker in 1979, at age 35. He had an interest in running for governor; but when Barbara Mikulski, now Maryland’s senior senator, left her 3rd District House seat to run for the Senate in 1986, Cardin jumped into that race and was easily elected.

In his second term in the House, Cardin got a seat on the Ways and Means Committee, where he was able to be a productive and creative legislator. More than any other Democrat on the powerful tax-writing committee, he worked skillfully on bipartisan legislation at a time when few were sufficiently clever or independent enough to pursue such initiatives. The Baltimore Sun called him a “master of bipartisan lawmaking.” Along with then-Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Cardin cosponsored the 1998 Internal Revenue Service reform law and the 2000 bipartisan legislation to expand 401(k) savings and other retirement plans. In 2001, when Congress enacted the Bush tax cut, it included Cardin’s provision to increase the limits for maximum IRA and 401(k) contributions.

Maryland Senate seats don’t come open very often, so when one did, Cardin and 17 other Democrats filed to run. An experienced campaigner and fundraiser, Cardin began as the front-runner even though his earnest, somewhat bland demeanor raised questions about his viability as a statewide candidate. His toughest primary opponents were former Democratic Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who resigned his House seat in 1996 to lead the NAACP, andmillionaire businessman Joshua Rales. Mfume and Cardin were friends—they were both elected to Congress in 1986—but Mfume and other black leaders warned that the state Democratic establishment’s support for Cardin could breed resentment among African-American voters.

The primary was expensive: Cardin, Rales, and Mfume together spent more than $12 million.Cardin outspent Mfume by nearly 4-to-1, but Mfume had a compelling life story and loads of charisma, especially compared with the low-key Cardin. Rales spent heavily from his own pocket but barely registered in the polls. Cardin won 44%-41%, carrying all but two counties and Baltimore City. The win was powered in part by Cardin’s nearly 2-1 advantage over Mfume in suburban Washington’s Montgomery County, the state’s most populous county.

The Republican nominee was Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, the first African-American statewide officeholder in Maryland and a candidate exceptionally well-positioned to exploit Cardin’s weaknesses. Steele combined his talent for retail politicking with quirky, unconventional ads highlighting his outsider status. Democrats, including Mfume, coalesced around Cardin and portrayed Steele as an inexperienced lightweight. Republicans criticized Cardin as a career pol who was closely tied to big-money, special-interest groups. Without a legislative record, Steele made for an elusive target, so Cardin sought to link him to President George W. Bush and criticized Steele for his support for the Iraq war.

Cardin won 54%-44%, in what was a tough year for Maryland Republicans. Steele won 18 of 23 counties, carrying the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland, but Cardin carried all of the key suburban counties: 52%-47% in Baltimore County (which doesn’t include the city); 54%-45% in Howard; 67%-32% in Montgomery. African-Americans voted overwhelmingly for Cardin. Two years later, in early 2009, Steele became the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee, where he became known for several well-publicized gaffes until his ouster in 2011.

A rock-solid Democrat, Cardin regularly is among the top 10 liberal senators in National Journal’s annual vote rankings. But he is able to work effectively with Republicans because he shuns partisan sound bites and has such a fondness for policymaking. With a seat on the influential Finance Committee, Cardin was at the center of many of the big legislative battles in the 112th Congress (2011-12). He introduced a bill with Democratic Chairman Max Baucus in January 2011 to repeal the provision in the health care law that called for businesses to submit forms to the Internal Revenue Service for all purchases above $600; it became law later that year. Senate Democratic leaders put him and Ohio’s Sherrod Brown in charge of an effort to shape the party’s message on the health care reform law.

During the 111th Congress (2009-10), Cardin was able to get a guaranteed dental benefit included in the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and worked with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., to include in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law a provision requiring transparent reporting of companies’ payments to governments for the extraction of oil, natural gas, and minerals. He also got an $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers added to the massive economic stimulus law of 2009.

Cardin had less success getting a Chesapeake Bay cleanup bill passed that would have expanded the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority over fertilizer and animal-waste runoff, though he has inserted provisions in the 2012 farm bill and other bills to help clean up the bay. He has worked on expanding mass transit in the Washington-Baltimore region, especially as Maryland gained an influx of employees at several military facilities in 2011 as a result of the base closing process. And he has been a frequent champion of the federal workforce, which employs many of his constituents, against repeated attempts by the House Republican majority to downsize its pay and benefits.

Cardin’s prodigious appetite for work extends to foreign policy. He co-chairs the U.S. arm of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, known as the Helsinki Commission, which monitors human rights issues. “My name is well-known in Russia, some places better than in Maryland,” he said. He achieved his biggest legislative success in that area in December 2012 with the passage of a bill that formally normalized trade relations with Russia after nearly 40 years. But the measure also required the federal government to freeze the assets of, and deny visas to, Russians who are implicated in human rights abuses. The provision so angered Russian President Vladimir Putin that he retaliated by moving to end U.S. adoptions of Russian children, a response Cardin called “embarrassing.” He has a solid record of support for Israel and in January 2013 raised concerns about former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Defense secretary in part because of Hagel’s views on the country, though he ended up voting to confirm Hagel.

Even though Cardin no longer sits on the Judiciary Committee, he is close to Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and works on such issues as ending racial profiling and returning voting rights to convicted felons who have served their time. In 2008, he unsuccessfully called for ending the use of a secret court—which gave President George W. Bush broader surveillance powers in cases involving suspected terrorists—by sponsoring legislation that would allow the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to “sunset” in four years instead of six. Many in Congress believed that the secret surveillance constituted a threat to civil liberties.

Cardin faced little trouble getting reelected in 2012. The only wrinkle was the emergence of an independent candidate, wealthy businessman Rob Sobhani, who shelled out more than $7.8 million of his own money, almost $1 million more than what Cardin raised. Cardin ended up with 56% to Republican Daniel Bongino’s 26% and Sobhani’s 16%.

Show Less
Ben Cardin Election Results
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2012 General
Ben Cardin (D)
Votes: 1,474,028
Percent: 56.04%
Daniel Bongino (R)
Votes: 693,291
Percent: 26.36%
S. Rob Sobhani (I)
Votes: 430,934
Percent: 16.38%
2012 Primary
Ben Cardin (D)
Votes: 240,704
Percent: 74.24%
C. Anthony Muse (D)
Votes: 50,807
Percent: 15.67%
Prior Winning Percentages
Senate: 2006 (55%); House: 2004 (63%), 2002 (66%), 2000 (76%), 1998 (78%), 1996 (67%), 1994 (71%), 1992 (74%), 1990 (70%), 1988 (73%), 1986 (79%)
Ben Cardin Votes and Bills
Back to top NJ Vote Ratings

National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 82 (L) : 8 (C) 86 (L) : 10 (C) 81 (L) : 12 (C)
Social 73 (L) : - (C) 64 (L) : - (C) 52 (L) : - (C)
Foreign 71 (L) : - (C) 85 (L) : - (C) 87 (L) : 8 (C)
Composite 86.3 (L) : 13.7 (C) 87.5 (L) : 12.5 (C) 83.3 (L) : 16.7 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC140
LCV100100
CFG35
ITIC-63
NTU108
20112012
COC45-
ACLU-75
ACU00
ADA10095
AFSCME100-
Key Senate Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Block faith exemptions
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Approve gas pipeline
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Approve farm bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Let cyber bill proceed
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Block Gitmo transfers
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass balanced budget amendment
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Stop EPA climate regulations
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Proceed to Cordray vote
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Require talking filibuster
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Limit Fannie/Freddie
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Ratify New START
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Confirm Elena Kagan
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop EPA climate regs
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Block release of TARP funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $787 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Repeal DC gun laws
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Confirm Sonia Sotomayor
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar budget rules for climate bill
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass 2010 budget resolution
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let judges adjust mortgages
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Allow FDA to regulate tobacco
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Protect gays from hate crimes
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Cut F-22 funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Label North Korea terrorist state
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Build Guantanamo replacement
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Allow federal funds for abortion
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Cap greenhouse gases
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase missile defense $
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Make English official language
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Path to citizenship
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Fetus is unborn child
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Prosecute hate crimes
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 3/08
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Iran guard is terrorist group
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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