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

Biography

Elected: 2010, term expires 2016, 2nd full term.

Born: May 16, 1943, Jackson, MI

Home: Fort Wayne

Education: Wheaton Col., B.A. 1965; IN U., J.D. 1971.

Professional Career: Asst. v.p., Mutual Security Life Insurance, 1972-76; staffer, Rep. Dan Quayle, R-Ind., 1976-80; lobbyist, Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand, 2000-01; U.S. ambassador to Germany, 2001-05; lobbyist, King & Spalding, 2005-10.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Presbyterian

Family: Married (Marsha) , 3 children

The senior senator from Indiana is Republican Dan Coats, elected in 2010 to a second stint in the Senate. He had served from 1988 to 1998, and then was a lobbyist and diplomat before running successfully for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh. In 2015 he became chairman of the bicameral Joint Economic Committee as well as the Finance Committee's panel on energy and infrastructure.

Coats grew up in Jackson, Mich. When he was nine years old, his mother, a Swedish immigrant, took him to see President Dwight Eisenhower. Coats still remembers touching the president’s sleeve and cites him, along with Winston Churchill, as his political idols. In college, he considered becoming a doctor but decided against it. He joined the Army, went to law school, and worked for an insurance company. In 1976, he turned down a job offer from a bank to work for a young Republican member of Congress named Dan Quayle. Four years later, Coats was elected to succeed Quayle in the House. In 1988, he was appointed to succeed him in the Senate when Quayle was chosen as the GOP vice presidential nominee. Coats was elected in his own right in 1990 to serve the remaining two years of Quayle’s term, getting 54% of the vote. In 1992, he was elected to a full term with 57%.

One of the causes he championed while in the Senate was the line-item veto, which he said would help curb federal spending. Coats served on the Armed Services Committee, the Labor and Human Resources Committee, and, starting in 1997, the Intelligence Committee. He compiled a conservative voting record. He strongly opposed abortion rights and was a leader on a ban on research using fetal tissue. He sponsored a law allowing parents to block the numbers of “dial-a-porn” phone sex lines and one restricting “indecent or lewd” material on the Internet. Coats did occasionally buck his party. He voted for the assault weapons ban and for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires companies to provide paid leave to their employees to care for a newborn child or a sick family member.

In December 1996, he announced he would not seek reelection in 1998. At the time, most polls showed him trailing outgoing Democratic Gov. Bayh, who went on to win the Senate seat. Coats joined the lobbying firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand. In 2001, President George W. Bush considered him for Defense secretary before choosing Donald Rumsfeld, but he appointed Coats the U.S. ambassador to Germany. Disagreement over the Iraq war strained U.S.-German relations during Coats’ tenure, but in 2005, he told National Journal that visits by Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had helped to ease tensions. He left that post in 2005 and joined lobbying firm King & Spalding. He tried to help Bush rally Senate support for Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, although she withdrew after members of both parties questioned her qualifications.

In early 2010, with public opinion turning against incumbent Democrats, Bayh appeared vulnerable, and Republicans were searching for a top-tier candidate. Just two weeks after Coats announced his candidacy, Bayh declared that he would not seek reelection.

Coats faced a crowded GOP primary field that included former Rep. John Hostettler and state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, both of whom appealed to tea party groups. Coats was the only candidate to go on the air with significant advertising, and national Republicans backed him. He won the primary with 39% of the vote to 29% for Stutzman and 23% for Hostettler. Coats benefited from tea party Republicans splitting their votes between Stutzman and Hostettler.

In the general election, Coats honed a message that he returned to politics to combat President Barack Obama’s agenda, and he accused his Democratic opponent, Rep. Brad Ellsworth, of being in lockstep with the national Democratic Party. Democrats, in turn, hammered Coats for his lucrative career as a lobbyist who did the bidding of special interests. They labeled him as a Washington insider, a strategy used widely in 2010 to appeal to recession-battered voters.

Republicans, meanwhile, went after Ellsworth as a rubber stamp for liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic agenda, parts of which were unpopular with conservative voters. They criticized his votes in favor the $787 billion economic stimulus bill and the health care overhaul. He also may have fallen out of favor with the anti-abortion rights voters, who had been in his camp in the past, because he voted for the health care bill, even though the abortion restriction they favored had been dropped from the legislation.

In the final weeks before Election Day, Coats maintained a double-digit lead over Ellsworth. But he took no chances. With his coffers running low after the expensive primary, he put $200,000 of his own money into his campaign. Altogether, Coats raised $4.4 million, far more than Ellsworth, who had $2.4 million. Coats won 55% to 40%.

Coats is a reliably business-friendly conservative. He is from the older school of generally avoiding provocative sound bites and "seems more comfortable in serious Senate hearings than on the campaign trail," Indianapolis Star political columnist Matthew Tully once observed. When President Obama traveled to Coats' state in February 2015 to tout a recent surge in job growth, Coats was unimpressed. "Despite this progress, full-time employment has yet to reach pre-recession levels and the amount of people participating in the workforce remains near 30-year lows,” he said in a statement. A few weeks earlier, he and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew challenging Obama's power to unilaterally lift economic sanctions on Cuba.

Coats’ first major speech on returning to the Senate was a call to reform the entitlement programs Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. In a way, he was picking up right where he left off. Coats proposed increasing the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67, an adjustment he advocated back in 1997. But this time, in 2011, austerity was more in vogue, and even Obama tacitly supported raising the age of Medicare eligibility. Coats also pushed for tax reform and more radical debt reduction measures. He voted against the August 2011 deal to raise the debt limit and cut $2.4 trillion in spending because he said the spending cuts didn’t go far enough. The bill passed the Senate, 74-26, with his Indiana Republican colleague, Sen. Richard Lugar, voting for it.

During a March 2012 fight over the surface transportation bill, Coats offered an amendment to reimburse states for money they pay in federal gas taxes, a move that he said would give Indiana a greater share of federal gas tax revenue. The amendment was soundly defeated, 28-70. In June 2012, Coats voted for an unsuccessful bill to loosen regulations on toxic mercury released by coal-fired power plants. “I am disappointed the Senate failed to protect American jobs from another damaging EPA rule,” he said.

Breaking from conservative orthodoxy, Coats said in 2012 that he was open to new taxes to avert the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts. “I’m willing to raise revenues,” he told The Indianapolis Star in November 2012. “There’s a way to do that that doesn’t injure the economy and actually gives us a chance of a better recovery and getting people back to work, by closing (tax) loopholes and a lot of the subsidies available in the tax code.” Coats later voted for the Senate deal that allowed taxes to go up on households earning more than $450,000. The bill passed overwhelmingly before facing more substantial opposition from House Republicans.

Coats is up for reelection in 2016, when he will turn 73. As of early 2015, he had not formally announced his plans. But with the tea party reluctant to test him in a GOP primary and few prominent Democrats willing to match his considerable fundraising power, he appeared to be relatively safe.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-5623

(202) 228-1820

RSOB- Russell Senate Office Building Room 493
Washington, DC 20510-1405

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-5623

(202) 228-1820

RSOB- Russell Senate Office Building Room 493
Washington, DC 20510-1405

DISTRICT OFFICE

(317) 554-0750

(317) 554-0760

Market Tower Room 1650
Indianapolis, IN 46204

DISTRICT OFFICE

(317) 554-0750

(317) 554-0760

Market Tower Room 1650
Indianapolis, IN 46204

DISTRICT OFFICE

(812) 465-6500

(812) 465-6503

101 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Evansville, IN 47708

DISTRICT OFFICE

(812) 465-6500

(812) 465-6503

101 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Evansville, IN 47708

DISTRICT OFFICE

(260) 426-3151

(260) 420-0060

1300 South Harrison Street Suite 3161
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

DISTRICT OFFICE

(260) 426-3151

(260) 420-0060

1300 South Harrison Street Suite 3161
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

DISTRICT OFFICE

(812) 754-0520

(812) 754-0539

2 East McClain Avenue Suite 2-A
Scottsburg, IN 47170

DISTRICT OFFICE

(812) 754-0520

(812) 754-0539

2 East McClain Avenue Suite 2-A
Scottsburg, IN 47170

DISTRICT OFFICE

(219) 663-2595

(219) 663-4586

11035 Broadway Suite A
Crown Point, IN 46307

DISTRICT OFFICE

(219) 663-2595

(219) 663-4586

11035 Broadway Suite A
Crown Point, IN 46307

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Aerospace

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Agriculture

Casey Murphy
Legislative Assistant

Phillip Pinegar
Legislative Correspondent

Banking

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Commerce

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Phillip Pinegar
Legislative Correspondent

Communication

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Consumers

Crime

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Disaster

James Dolbow
Military Legislative Assistant

Education

Casey Murphy
Legislative Assistant

Nancy Richardson
Legislative Aide

Phillip Pinegar
Legislative Correspondent

Energy

Environment

Phillip Pinegar
Legislative Correspondent

Family

Casey Murphy
Legislative Assistant

Nancy Richardson
Legislative Aide

Finance

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Foreign

Terry Snell
Senior Advisor

Jon Kenworthy
Legislative Correspondent

Govt Ops

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Gun Issues

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Dean Hingson
Chief of Staff

Health

Casey Murphy
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

James Dolbow
Military Legislative Assistant

Brian Miller
Professional Staff Member

Human Rights

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Immigration

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Intelligence

Brian Miller
Professional Staff Member

Internet

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Judiciary

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Labor

Casey Murphy
Legislative Assistant

Nancy Richardson
Legislative Aide

Land Use

Medicare

Casey Murphy
Legislative Assistant

Military

James Dolbow
Military Legislative Assistant

Brian Miller
Professional Staff Member

Jon Kenworthy
Legislative Correspondent

National Security

Brian Miller
Professional Staff Member

Native Americans

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Public Works

Rules

Jon Foltz
Legislative Counsel

Science

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Social Security

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Tax

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Karin Hope
Policy Director; Counsel

Technology

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Telecommunications

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Trade

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Transportation

Veterans

James Dolbow
Military Legislative Assistant

Welfare

Viraj Mirani
Senate Executive Director

Election Results

2010 GENERAL
Dan Coats
Votes: 952,116
Percent: 54.58%
Brad Ellsworth
Votes: 697,775
Percent: 40.0%
Rebecca Sink-Burris
Votes: 94,330
Percent: 5.41%
2010 PRIMARY
Dan Coats
Votes: 217,225
Percent: 39.47%
Marlin Stutzman
Votes: 160,981
Percent: 29.25%
John Hostettler
Votes: 124,494
Percent: 22.62%
Prior Winning Percentages
1992 (57%), 1990 special (54%), House: 1988 (62%), 1986 (70%), 1984 (61%), 1982 (64%), 1980 (61%)

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