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

Biography

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

Born: November 17, 1961, Providence, RI

Home: Allentown

Education: Harvard U., B.S. 1984.

Professional Career: Investment banker, Chemical Bank, 1984-86; investment banker, Morgan Grenfell, 1986-90; financial consultant, Springfield Ltd., 1990-91; restaurateur, 1990-2001; pres., Club for Growth, 2005-09.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: Married (Kris) , 3 children

Republican Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania’s junior senator, is the onetime head of the anti-tax organization Club for Growth and a former U.S. House member. He emerged on top in one of 2010’s most competitive Senate races, and his active involvement in budget matters has given him a higher profile than the typical freshman.

Toomey grew up in Providence, R.I., the third of six children of a union worker and a part-time church secretary. He graduated from Harvard University thanks to scholarship money and earnings from part-time jobs. After college, he worked in investment banking, founding a successful international financial services consulting firm in 1990 and amassing considerable wealth. After six years on Wall Street, Toomey moved to Allentown, Pa., where he joined his brothers to start Rookies Restaurant and Sports Bar, which grew into a chain with outlets across the state. In 1994, he was elected to the Allentown Government Study Commission, where he pushed to lower taxes and to require a supermajority vote by the city council to raise taxes.

In 1998, Toomey ran for the seat of retiring 15th District Rep. Paul McHale, a Democrat. One of six candidates in the Republican primary, he called for individual Social Security investment accounts, creation of a flat tax to replace income taxes, and term limits for members of Congress. He promised to serve only six years. He won the primary with 27% of the vote to 25% for the 1996 nominee, Bob Kilbanks, and 23% for state Sen. Joseph Uliana. In the general election, he beat state Sen. Roy Afflerbach 55%-45%.

As a member of the House, Toomey worked primarily on economic issues. He pushed to limit spending and to force Congress to set aside money for debt reduction, which irked some longtime Appropriations Committee members who were not accustomed to having their earmark spending limited. He was reelected 53%-47% in 2000 and 57%-43% in 2002 in a district that had voted Democratic for president since 1992.

Toomey kept his term limit pledge in 2004 and ran for the Senate seat held by then-Republican Arlen Specter. Specter was supported by Bush and conservative colleague Sen. Rick Santorum and raised far more money. He spotlighted the projects he had obtained for the state over his 24 years in the Senate, and said that Toomey was inattentive to constituents and flip-flopped on issues. Toomey criticized Specter’s voting record as too liberal and emphasized his support from trial lawyers. The result was exceedingly close. Specter won 51%-49%, by 17,000 votes out of over 1 million cast. Specter carried metro Philadelphia with 57%, but Toomey carried metro Pittsburgh with 58% and, thanks to 2-1 support in his home district, came within less than 2,000 votes of leading Specter in the rest of the state.

After he lost the election, Toomey became president of the Club for Growth, a national organization that champions lower taxes and spends generously to support conservative candidates who share its views. It frequently supported conservative candidates in Republican primaries who were opposed by the local party establishment, and in some cases, it opposed incumbent Republicans. Toomey’s view was that the GOP was courting political disaster because it had abandoned conservative principles. In the process, Toomey made contacts around the country among conservative activists and major fundraisers.

He decided to challenge Specter again in 2010 after the incumbent cast one of three Republican votes for the Democrats’ economic stimulus bill. Two weeks later, Specter announced he was switching parties to become a Democrat, saying he did not want to put his service at the mercy of Republican primary voters. But unfortunately for Specter, his path to the Democratic nomination was not clear despite his backing from party heavyweights. Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak, a retired Navy admiral, was already in the race, and refused to drop out. Sestak won the primary, 54%-46%, carrying all but three counties (Philadelphia and those containing Harrisburg and Scranton). Toomey won the Republican primary with 81% of the vote.

The general election presented a clear contrast on issues. Sestak had voted not only for the stimulus bill, but for the Democrats’ health care overhaul and their cap-and-trade bill to limit carbon emission. Toomey called for extending the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthy, and for lower corporate and capital gains tax rates. He spent $17 million, while Sestak spent $12 million, much of it in the primary. Toomey beat Sestak, 51%-49%, while Republican Tom Corbett was elected governor. Toomey lost metro Philadelphia, 62%-38%, but he carried metro Pittsburgh, 53%-47%, and the rest of the state, 59%-41%.

In the Senate, Toomey has shown a preference for policy over sound bites, and perhaps as a result, is not a frequent figure on cable television. But he has won praise for articulating conservative ideals in a reasonable way. “He is far right, except he doesn’t sound too far right,” historian Hal Gullan, author of a book on Toomey’s win over Sestak, told the Philadelphia Daily News.

Toomey replaced South Carolina’s Jim DeMint in 2012 as chairman of the Republican Steering Committee, the caucus of the Senate’s conservatives. He reached out to centrists, such as Maine’s Susan Collins, who had stopped coming to the group’s weekly lunches after DeMint’s uncompromising views rubbed them the wrong way. In the 113th Congress (2013-14), Toomey won a highly coveted seat on the Finance Committee.

He joined Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri in signing a letter urging colleagues to abandon earmarks in appropriations bills, and later introduced legislation making an earmark ban permanent. He said that Congress should extend unemployment benefits, but offset the cost with spending cuts. He surprised some of his supporters in late 2010 by favoring repeal of the ban on openly gay service personnel in the military. “My highest priority is to have the policy that best enables our armed services to do their job,” Toomey told The Morning Call in Allentown. Then, in April 2013 he teamed with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin on a compromise on gun control. Their proposal called for expanding background checks to gun shows and online sales while maintaining record-keeping provisions that law enforcement officials said were essential in tracking criminal gun use, but that gun rights groups adamantly opposed. He told reporters while the volatile issue was “not something I sought,” but that he considered it important to take action.

Toomey is especially active on the Budget Committee. After House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. proposed a controversial deficit reduction plan that would transform Medicare into a voucher-like system, Toomey offered an alternative that got some attention. His proposal aimed to balance the budget in nine years with defense cuts already proposed by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates and with an overhaul of Medicaid into a block grant program. His plan did not touch two popular entitlement programs, Medicare and Social Security. Still, the bill went down to defeat in May 2011 by a vote of 55-42, with no Democratic support.

He supported the January 2013 compromise on taxes and spending to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” but blunted criticism from conservatives who didn’t like the deal by declaring that Republicans needed to be ready to shut down the government to raise the debt limit in the future. “We absolutely have to have this fight over the debt limit,” he said. Then, when the two parties failed to reach an overarching budget deal and automatic, across-the-board cuts took effect in March, Toomey offered legislation giving the president and federal agencies authority to decide where the cuts should occur.

As Toomey continued to raise his national profile on fiscal matters, he suffered some embarrassment on a local issue. In September 2011, Toomey, fellow Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa. recommended longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno for a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Two months later, Penn State was ensnared in a horrific child sex abuse scandal involving a former defensive coordinator, and Paterno was fired. The lawmakers rescinded their recommendation.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-4254

(202) 228-0284

RSOB- Russell Senate Office Building Room 248
Washington, DC 20510-3806

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-4254

(202) 228-0284

RSOB- Russell Senate Office Building Room 248
Washington, DC 20510-3806

DISTRICT OFFICE

(610) 434-1444

(610) 434-1844

1150 South Cedar Crest Boulevard Suite 101
Allentown, PA 18103

DISTRICT OFFICE

(610) 434-1444

(610) 434-1844

1150 South Cedar Crest Boulevard Suite 101
Allentown, PA 18103

DISTRICT OFFICE

(814) 453-3010

(814) 455-9925

United States Federal Building Suite B-120
Erie, PA 16501

DISTRICT OFFICE

(814) 453-3010

(814) 455-9925

United States Federal Building Suite B-120
Erie, PA 16501

DISTRICT OFFICE

(717) 782-3951

(717) 782-4920

United States Federal Building Suite 1104
Harrisburg, PA 17101

DISTRICT OFFICE

(717) 782-3951

(717) 782-4920

United States Federal Building Suite 1104
Harrisburg, PA 17101

DISTRICT OFFICE

(215) 241-1090

(215) 241-1095

8 Penn Center Suite 1702
Philadelphia, PA 19103

DISTRICT OFFICE

(215) 241-1090

(215) 241-1095

8 Penn Center Suite 1702
Philadelphia, PA 19103

DISTRICT OFFICE

(412) 803-3501

(412) 803-3504

The Landmarks Building Suite 225
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

DISTRICT OFFICE

(412) 803-3501

(412) 803-3504

The Landmarks Building Suite 225
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

DISTRICT OFFICE

(570) 941-3540

(570) 941-3544

538 Spruce Street Suite 302
Scranton, PA 18503

DISTRICT OFFICE

(570) 941-3540

(570) 941-3544

538 Spruce Street Suite 302
Scranton, PA 18503

DISTRICT OFFICE

(814) 266-5970

(814) 266-5973

Richland Square III Suite 302
Johnstown, PA 15904

DISTRICT OFFICE

(814) 266-5970

(814) 266-5973

Richland Square III Suite 302
Johnstown, PA 15904

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(484) 809-7994

5250 Wheatland Drive
Zionsville, PA 18092

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(484) 809-7994

5250 Wheatland Drive
Zionsville, PA 18092

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Brad Grantz
Legislative Counsel

Robert Simpson
Legislative Correspondent

Agriculture

Brett Doyle
Legislative Assistant

Tyler Minnich
Legislative Correspondent

Banking

John Crews
Legislative Aide

Budget

Rick Morgan
Policy Advisor for Budget and Tax Issues

Eric Arndt
Legislative Correspondent

Commerce

Dimple Gupta
Legislative Counsel

Devorah Goldman
Legislative Correspondent

Education

Dimple Gupta
Legislative Counsel

Devorah Goldman
Legislative Correspondent

Energy

Brett Doyle
Legislative Assistant

Tyler Minnich
Legislative Correspondent

Environment

Brett Doyle
Legislative Assistant

Tyler Minnich
Legislative Correspondent

Finance

John Crews
Legislative Aide

Foreign

Katherine Cessar
Legislative Correspondent

Darrell Owens
Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Devorah Goldman
Legislative Correspondent

Darrell Owens
Legislative Assistant

Health

Brad Grantz
Legislative Counsel

Robert Simpson
Legislative Correspondent

Homeland Security

Katherine Cessar
Legislative Correspondent

Darrell Owens
Legislative Assistant

Housing

John Crews
Legislative Aide

Immigration

Dimple Gupta
Legislative Counsel

Intelligence

Darrell Owens
Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Dimple Gupta
Legislative Counsel

Devorah Goldman
Legislative Correspondent

Labor

Dimple Gupta
Legislative Counsel

Devorah Goldman
Legislative Correspondent

Medicare

Robert Simpson
Legislative Correspondent

Military

Katherine Cessar
Legislative Correspondent

Darrell Owens
Legislative Assistant

Native Americans

Brett Doyle
Legislative Assistant

Tyler Minnich
Legislative Correspondent

Rules

Dimple Gupta
Legislative Counsel

Devorah Goldman
Legislative Correspondent

Small Business

John Crews
Legislative Aide

Tax

Rick Morgan
Policy Advisor for Budget and Tax Issues

Eric Arndt
Legislative Correspondent

Technology

Brett Doyle
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Brett Doyle
Legislative Assistant

Trade

Brett Doyle
Legislative Assistant

Tyler Minnich
Legislative Correspondent

Transportation

Brett Doyle
Legislative Assistant

Tyler Minnich
Legislative Correspondent

Urban Affairs

John Crews
Legislative Aide

Veterans

Katherine Cessar
Legislative Correspondent

Darrell Owens
Legislative Assistant

Women

Robert Simpson
Legislative Correspondent

Election Results

2010 GENERAL
Pat Toomey
Votes: 2,028,945
Percent: 51.01%
Joe Sestak
Votes: 1,948,716
Percent: 48.99%
2010 PRIMARY
Pat Toomey
Votes: 668,409
Percent: 81.49%
Peg Luksik
Votes: 151,802
Percent: 18.51%
Prior Winning Percentages
House: 2002 (57%), 2000 (53%), 1998 (55%)

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