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

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D)

Connecticut

N/A

blumenthal.senate.gov

Biography

Elected: 2010, term expires 2016, 1st term.

Born: February 13, 1946, Brooklyn, NY

Home: Greenwich, CT

Education: Harvard U., B.A. 1967; Yale U., J.D. 1973.

Professional Career: Teacher, Washington, D.C., public schl., 1968-69; staff asst., White House Office of Econ. Opportunity, 1969-70; law clerk, 1973-75; administrative asst., Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, D-Conn., 1975-76; U.S. atty., CT, 1977-81; practing atty., 1981-1990.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Jewish

Family: Married (Cynthia) , 4 children

The senior senator from Connecticut is Democrat Richard Blumenthal, an Ivy League-educated former state attorney general who won an open seat contest against tea party-backed Republican Linda McMahon in 2010. He succeeded retiring Sen. Christopher Dodd, also a Democrat.

Blumenthal was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Jane and Martin Blumenthal. His father fled Nazi Germany in 1935 and became wealthy by trading commodities in his adopted country. He sent his son to Harvard, where Blumenthal earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, and to Yale Law School, where he edited the Yale Law Journal. Blumenthal’s post-college list of employers reads like a Who’s Who of the Washington elite in the 1970s: He worked at The Washington Post for longtime publisher Katharine Graham; he was a staff assistant to Daniel Patrick Moynihan when Moynihan was a top adviser in the Nixon White House; and he clerked for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan. Blumenthal’s résumé impressed President Carter, who appointed him U.S. attorney in Connecticut in 1977.

Blumenthal went on to do some legal work for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund while in private practice in the early 1980s, where he gained wider fame by dismantling the case against an innocent prisoner on Connecticut’s death row. A stay was granted just 15 hours before Joseph Brown’s scheduled execution in 1983, and he was later released. (Brown’s wife was found dead in September 2012, and Brown was arrested again and charged with first degree murder. When contacted by the Associated Press for comment on the charge, Blumenthal declined.) Blumenthal went on to win election to the Connecticut Assembly in 1984 and to the state Senate in 1987 before his successful run for attorney general in 1990.

As the state’s top lawyer, Blumenthal actively pursued consumer protection lawsuits, including cases against tobacco companies, polluters, health insurers, and banks charging automatic teller fees. The lawsuits won Blumenthal increased popularity with Connecticut Democrats—and earned him the nickname “Sue ’Em All Blumenthal” from his detractors. He had long been considered a candidate for higher office, but other figures, notably independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, who remained on Connecticut’s Senate ballot in 2000 while also running for vice president, stood in his way. He was elected and reelected state attorney general five times since 1990, never with less than 59% of the vote.

He finally got his shot to run for the Senate in 2010 after Dodd announced he was retiring after five terms. But it was also the year when the tea party took flight, and what should have been a stroll in the park for Blumenthal, given his popularity in blue Connecticut, turned into a bruising fight against McMahon, the former head of World Wrestling Entertainment. The Republican nominee harnessed an upswing in GOP voter energy to make it a real contest, one that was monitored nationally as a possible gauge of the strength of the fledgling tea party movement.

The first sign things were not going to be easy for Blumenthal was his apparent exaggeration of his military service. A member of the Marine Corps Reserve from 1970 to 1975, Blumenthal claimed on several occasions to have served in Vietnam, though he never in fact was deployed. The McMahon campaign attacked him for distorting his record, putting a chink in his best asset: his long record of public service compared to McMahon’s recent embrace of politics as a second career. Blumenthal apologized, but the episode sparked a nasty back-and-forth campaign. Blumenthal’s camp went after McMahon for the sexism and use of steroids in professional wrestling, where McMahon earned her wealth as WWE president. He chided her for heavy personal spending on her campaign, saying voters deserved “an election, not an auction.”

Though Blumenthal enjoyed a wide lead over McMahon at the beginning of the race, it tightened considerably in the wake of the Marine Reserve flap. In a bad year for Democrats, Blumenthal stressed his independence from the national party on a handful of issues, including his opposition to the financial industry rescue. He also said that unlike McMahon, he would support letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire for households earning over $250,000 a year; she supported making them permanent for all income levels.

McMahon emphasized her business savvy as a CEO who created jobs, and talked about her middle-class upbringing by two civil service workers in North Carolina. To appeal to Democrats and independents, she billed herself as a centrist Republican who supported abortion rights and the prerogative of states to decide the same-sex marriage issue. Her readiness for the job was called into question with revelations that she had failed to even vote in elections in 2006 and 2008. But McMahon proved to be a tireless campaigner with an easy manner in the endless meet-and-greet aspects of the role.

Still, she could not overcome Connecticut’s Democratic tilt even in 2010’s poor climate for President Barack Obama and his party. The Hartford Courant noted that “she had persistent trouble winning over women voters, despite the fact she would have become the first female senator in the state’s history. Some women were turned off by some of the racier images of WWE; others didn’t like her aggressive advertising strategy.” Blumenthal won with 55% of the vote to 43% for McMahon. When the results were in, the Courant summed things up this way: “In the beginning, Richard Blumenthal looked unbeatable. At the end, he was. In between, there was quite a battle.”

In the Senate, Blumenthal has spent a lot of time on public health and consumer issues. In April 2011, he asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes, pointing out high usage rates among young people and minorities. In July of that year, he sponsored a bill aimed at increasing the federal government’s ability to combat Lyme disease, which was named after a town in Connecticut where a number of early cases of the disease were identified in the 1970s.

During the debate over banning insider trading in Congress, Blumenthal cosponsored an amendment with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. to eliminate pensions for members of Congress convicted of felonies while in office. Blumenthal noted that a National Taxpayers Union study found that former members of Congress convicted on charges of public corruption were drawing some $800,000 per year in taxpayer-funded pensions. The measure was adopted by the Senate in February 2012.

Blumenthal has seats on both the Senate Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees. His son, Matthew, is a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve and has served in Afghanistan. In 2012, Roll Call newspaper declared Blumenthal the sixth-wealthiest member of Congress, with a large share of his money coming from his wife, Cynthia, the daughter of real estate tycoon Peter Malkin.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-2823

(202) 224-9673

HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building Room 706
Washington, DC 20510-0704

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-2823

(202) 224-9673

HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building Room 706
Washington, DC 20510-0704

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 224-2823

(202) 224-9673

90 State House Square Tenth Floor
Hartford, CT 06103

DISTRICT OFFICE

(860) 258-6940

(860) 258-6958

90 State House Square Tenth Floor
Hartford, CT 06103

DISTRICT OFFICE

(203) 330-0598

(203) 330-0608

915 Lafayette Boulevard Room 230
Bridgeport, CT 06604

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 224-2823

(202) 224-9673

915 Lafayette Boulevard Room 230
Bridgeport, CT 06604

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 224-2823

(202) 224-9673

330 Main Street 3rd Floor
Hartford, CT 06106

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 224-2823

(202) 224-9673

330 Main Street 3rd Floor
Hartford, CT 06106

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

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Abortion

Laurel Sakai
Legislative Assistant

Lauren Jee
Legislative Assistant

Brian Steele
Legislative Correspondent

Acquisitions

David Carpman
Legislative Assistant; Counsel

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Aerospace

E.J. Toppin
Legislative Aide

Agriculture

Lauren Jee
Legislative Assistant

Anna Yu
Legislative Assistant

E.J. Toppin
Legislative Aide

Maya Kalonia
Legislative Correspondent

Animal Rights

Khaliyl Lane
Legislative Aide

Appropriations

David Carpman
Legislative Assistant; Counsel

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Arts

Alicia Conley
Correspondence Manager

Banking

David Carpman
Legislative Assistant; Counsel

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Budget

David Carpman
Legislative Assistant; Counsel

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Commerce

Joel Kelsey
Legislative Director

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Maya Kalonia
Legislative Correspondent

Consumers

Anna Yu
Legislative Assistant

Maya Kalonia
Legislative Correspondent

Disability

Khaliyl Lane
Legislative Aide

Economics

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Education

David Carpman
Legislative Assistant; Counsel

Energy

Anna Yu
Legislative Assistant

E.J. Toppin
Legislative Aide

Maya Kalonia
Legislative Correspondent

Environment

Anna Yu
Legislative Assistant

E.J. Toppin
Legislative Aide

Family

Lauren Jee
Legislative Assistant

Khaliyl Lane
Legislative Aide

Finance

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Foreign

Katherine Bradbury
Legislative Assistant

Sarah Eyman
Legislative Correspondent

Govt Ops

Khaliyl Lane
Legislative Aide

Gun Issues

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Don Bell
Legislative Correspondent

Health

Lauren Jee
Legislative Assistant

Brian Steele
Legislative Correspondent

Homeland Security

Katherine Bradbury
Legislative Assistant

Zachary Radford
Legislative Assistant; Counsel

Housing

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Khaliyl Lane
Legislative Aide

Immigration

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Don Bell
Legislative Correspondent

Internet

Joel Kelsey
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Don Bell
Legislative Correspondent

Labor

Zachary Radford
Legislative Assistant; Counsel

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Khaliyl Lane
Legislative Aide

Medicare

Lauren Jee
Legislative Assistant

Brian Steele
Legislative Correspondent

Military

Katherine Bradbury
Legislative Assistant

Sarah Eyman
Legislative Correspondent

Privacy

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Public Works

Zachary Radford
Legislative Assistant; Counsel

Science

E.J. Toppin
Legislative Aide

Seniors

Lauren Jee
Legislative Assistant

Small Business

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Khaliyl Lane
Legislative Aide

Social Security

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Khaliyl Lane
Legislative Aide

Tax

David Carpman
Legislative Assistant; Counsel

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Technology

Joel Kelsey
Legislative Director

Telecommunications

Joel Kelsey
Legislative Director

Anna Yu
Legislative Assistant

Maya Kalonia
Legislative Correspondent

Trade

Sam Simon
Senior Counsel

Transportation

Zachary Radford
Legislative Assistant; Counsel

E.J. Toppin
Legislative Aide

Veterans

Laurel Sakai
Legislative Assistant

Sarah Eyman
Legislative Correspondent

Welfare

Lauren Jee
Legislative Assistant

Khaliyl Lane
Legislative Aide

Women

Laurel Sakai
Legislative Assistant

Brian Steele
Legislative Correspondent

Election Results

2010 GENERAL
Richard Blumenthal
Votes: 636,040
Percent: 55.15%
Linda McMahon
Votes: 498,341
Percent: 43.21%
2010 PRIMARY
Richard Blumenthal
Unopposed

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