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

Biography

Elected: 1998, 8th term.

Born: January 24, 1951, St. Helena

Home: St. Helena

Education: CA St. U., B. A. 1982, M. A. 1996.

Professional Career: Supervisor, Beringer Winery; CA Assembly fellow, 1982-83; Chief of staff, CA Assemblyman Lou Papan, 1984-87; Chief of staff, CA Assemblywoman Jackie Speier, 1987-90.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: married (Janet) , 2 children

Democrat Mike Thompson, first elected in 1998, has a moderate voting record that is among the least liberal of coastal Californians. But he is a trusted ally of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a prodigious fundraiser for his party, and a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

Thompson grew up in the Napa Valley town of St. Helena, dropped out of high school, served in the Army in Vietnam, and earned a Purple Heart. Later, he got a bachelor’s and master’s degree from what is now California State University, Chico. He owned a vineyard and worked as a maintenance supervisor for Beringer, a big winery in the valley. From 1984 to 1990, he was the chief of staff to two Bay Area state Assembly members. In 1990, he was elected to the state Senate, where he chaired the Budget Committee. In 1998, he ran for the U.S. House seat of Republican Frank Riggs, who planned to challenge Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer that year. Thompson faced only weak opposition and had support from almost every interest group that matters in the district: unions, medical providers, vintners, oil and timber interests, environmental advocates, law enforcement groups, and fishermen. His issue stands—opposition to oil drilling off the California coast, support of abortion rights and the death penalty—were broadly popular. He won the primary 78%-22% and the general election 62%-33%. He has not been seriously challenged since then.

In the House, Thompson joined both the New Democrats and the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats. He is among the members of his party who agree with Republicans on the need to abolish the estate tax, which he said unfairly burdens family farms. With Republican Rep. George Radanovich of California, he started the Congressional Wine Caucus, and wineries such as Gallo and Sutter Home have been among his largest campaign contributors. His leadership political action committee, the Victory in November Election PAC (VINE PAC), has raised at least $260,000 in each of the last four election cycles. For the past several years, Thompson and the caucus have battled lawmakers allied with beer and alcohol wholesalers over a bill giving states new power to restrict sales over the Internet.

When a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill in March 2011 aimed at ensuring state governments maintain their ability to regulate alcohol under the 21st Amendment, Thompson warned the bill would allow states to pass laws effectively banning direct shipping of spirits. “The federal government has no business picking winners and losers in the wine, beer, and distilled spirits industry,” he said. The measure did not pass. In 2009, Thompson added provisions to a solar technology bill aimed at preventing thefts of solar panels at wineries, a growing problem in the Napa Valley. He also joined GOP Rep. Ted Poe of Texas on a proposal in 2012 aimed at making it more attractive for private capital to invest in renewable energy.

In November 2012, Thompson was given the party honor of re-nominating Pelosi as minority leader before the Democratic caucus, and she later named Thompson, a hunter and former chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, to head a House Democratic task force to develop a response on gun issues following the deadly school massacre in Newtown, Conn. Earlier, she tapped him to coordinate redistricting efforts for Democrats following the 2010 census. His duties eventually expanded to include fundraising. Politico reported in March 2011 that he urged Democratic colleagues to give to a Democratic group for redistricting fights, and the source of those donations would not be publicly disclosed. He and Pelosi obtained Ethics Committee waivers to raise money for the group, the National Democratic Redistricting Trust.

In 2003, Thompson got a seat on Ways and Means. On the powerful panel, he was able to enact a tax break for landowners who place their land under conservation easements, a way to preserve farmland. In 2007, he sponsored the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, which requires airlines to provide basic necessities, like food, water, and well-ventilated facilities, when flights are delayed for long periods. Although it stalled in Congress, the Obama administration issued a rule modeled after the legislation in 2010, and it eventually was included in a 2012 bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. After Republicans talked up increased domestic oil drilling, Thompson proposed a ban on drilling along California’s North Coast, saying it makes little sense economically or environmentally.

On the Intelligence Committee, Thompson sponsored a successful addition to the 2008 defense bill that cracked down on abuses by private contractors in Iraq and expanded the authority of a special inspector general. In 2011, he called for intelligence and law enforcement agencies to work together on a coordinated strategy for marijuana illegally grown on U.S. public lands, a particular problem in his district.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-3311

(202) 225-4335

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 231
Washington, DC 20515-0505

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-3311

(202) 225-4335

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 231
Washington, DC 20515-0505

DISTRICT OFFICE

(707) 226-9898

(707) 251-9800

Building 2
Napa, CA 94558

DISTRICT OFFICE

(707) 226-9898

(707) 251-9800

Building 2
Napa, CA 94558

DISTRICT OFFICE

(707) 645-1888

(707) 645-1870

985 Walnut Avenue
Vallejo, CA 94592

DISTRICT OFFICE

(707) 645-1888

(707) 645-1870

985 Walnut Avenue
Vallejo, CA 94592

DISTRICT OFFICE

(707) 542-7182

(707) 542-2745

2300 County Center Drive Suite A100
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

DISTRICT OFFICE

(707) 542-7182

(707) 542-2745

2300 County Center Drive Suite A100
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

5429 Madison Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95841

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

5429 Madison Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95841

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Casey Badmington
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Erin Helling
Legislative Counsel

Animal Rights

Casey Badmington
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Vernon Baker
Legislative Assistant

Budget

Megan Rabbitt
Legislative Correspondent

Education

Casey Badmington
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Erin Helling
Legislative Counsel

Foreign

Jennifer Goedke
Policy Director

Govt Ops

Megan Rabbitt
Legislative Correspondent

Gun Issues

Health

Casey Badmington
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Erin Helling
Legislative Counsel

Housing

Megan Rabbitt
Legislative Correspondent

Immigration

Erin Helling
Legislative Counsel

Intelligence

Judiciary

Erin Helling
Legislative Counsel

Labor

Erin Helling
Legislative Counsel

Native Americans

Casey Badmington
Legislative Assistant

Public Works

Erin Helling
Legislative Counsel

Science

Megan Rabbitt
Legislative Correspondent

Tax

Jennifer Goedke
Policy Director

Vernon Baker
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Megan Rabbitt
Legislative Correspondent

Telecommunications

Austin Vevurka
Communications Director

Megan Rabbitt
Legislative Correspondent

Trade

Erin Helling
Legislative Counsel

Transportation

Erin Helling
Legislative Counsel

Welfare

Casey Badmington
Legislative Assistant

Women

Casey Badmington
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Mike Thompson
Votes: 202,872
Percent: 74.47%
Randy Loftin
Votes: 69,545
Percent: 25.53%
2012 PRIMARY
Mike Thompson
Votes: 95,748
Percent: 72.2%
Randy Loftin
Votes: 22,137
Percent: 16.69%
Stewart Cilley
Votes: 14,734
Percent: 11.11%
2010 GENERAL
Mike Thompson
Votes: 147,307
Percent: 62.79%
Loren Hanks
Votes: 72,803
Percent: 31.03%
2010 PRIMARY
Mike Thompson
Votes: 74,695
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Mike Thompson
Votes: 197,812
Percent: 68.1%
Zane Starkewolf
Votes: 67,853
Percent: 23.36%
Carol Wolman
Votes: 24,793
Percent: 8.54%
2008 PRIMARY
Mike Thompson
Votes: 69,622
Percent: 87.71%
Mitchell Clogg
Votes: 9,752
Percent: 12.29%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (63%), 2008 (68%), 2006 (66%), 2004 (67%), 2002 (64%), 2000 (65%), 1998 (62%)

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