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

Biography

Elected: 2010, 2nd term.

Born: July 21, 1967, Alexandria, VA

Home: Indian Land

Education: Georgetown U., B.S. 1989; U. of NC, Chapel Hill, J.D. 1992.

Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1993-2000; real estate firm owner, 2000-10.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Catholic

Family: Married (Pamela) , 3 children

Republican Mick Mulvaney was elected in 2010 by toppling 28-year Democratic incumbent John Spratt, the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Of the South Carolina tea party-backed conservatives elected that year, Mulvaney has been the most openly critical of his party’s leadership. He ran to take over the influential Republican Study Committee in 2015 and was seen as the favorite.

Mulvaney grew up in Charlotte, where his father left teaching to run a homebuilding business. His views were also shaped by listening to his grandparents’ stories about economic hardships during the Great Depression and by his first political hero, Ronald Reagan. At age 13, he was inspired by Reagan’s 1980 campaign for president. “I remember seeing Reagan on TV and being able to understand what he was talking about,” said Mulvaney, who stuffed envelopes for Reagan’s campaign. Mulvaney graduated from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, where he took one of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s courses and where he was voted student body president.

After graduation from the University of North Carolina’s law school, he practiced at a large firm in Charlotte and then established his own practice in 1997. A year later, he married and he and his wife, Pamela, soon became parents of triplets. Mulvaney sold the firm in 2000 to join his father’s homebuilding business. He also dabbled in politics, working in George W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 2000. In 2002, Mulvaney settled with his family across the state line in Lancaster County.

In 2006, he won a seat in the South Carolina House covering parts of Lancaster and York counties. Two years later, he ran for the state Senate, also in a seat covering the two counties, and won. He was one of 10 state senators who supported Republican Gov. Mark Sanford’s decision to reject federal economic stimulus money, and he generally tended to support Sanford’s budget-cutting over the policies of Republican legislative leaders. In November 2009, he attended a town hall meeting where Spratt was jeered and booed when he explained his vote for the Democrats’ health care bill. “I decided to run while sitting at the back of that meeting,” Mulvaney told the Associated Press.

Despite his prominence in Washington, Spratt had been reelected every two years with diminishing margins as the region grew out of its Southern Democratic roots and became more Republican. Spratt had become chairman of the Budget Committee, no small task, but that did not help him at home in the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency, as his district became a hotbed of dissent from the administration’s agenda. Mulvaney slammed Spratt for his support of the Democrats’ health care overhaul, the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, and cap-and-trade legislation limiting carbon emissions from industrial plants.

Mulvaney insisted that he liked and respected Spratt, but said, “Times have changed, and I think it’s time for us to change congressmen.” He spent $1.5 million, not much more than Republican Ralph Norman had spent against Spratt in 2006. But groups allied with Republicans also stepped in to help this time, including the anti-tax Club for Growth, American Future Fund, and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Spratt spent $2.5 million on his campaign, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put in another $1 million. Democrats attacked Mulvaney for convincing Lancaster County to issue bonds to improve a property, which he promptly sold for a profit to someone who then abandoned the planned development. On the stump, Spratt told voters, “It makes sense to reelect a seasoned old-timer like myself, who has been around the track a few times and knows how to get things done in Washington.” But Mulvaney won by a solid 55%-45%. In the area closest to Charlotte—York, Lancaster and Cherokee counties—he won 63% of the vote, a stunning outcome against a longtime and respected incumbent. Spratt carried the tobacco counties area, while Mulvaney carried the counties around Camden and Sumter.

In the House, Mulvaney has been occasionally willing to depart from the GOP line on social and foreign policy matters, but he is among the chamber's staunchest conservatives on fiscal matters. In his first term, he often bucked his party leadership in the name of fiscal discipline and voted against several budget resolutions offered by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to fund the government. “My no votes are not motivated by a desire to poke my leadership in the eye,” he told National Journal in October 2011. “There’s a certain value to a small group of people representing true north on the compass.” Mulvaney was one of the co-authors of the “cut, cap, and balance” proposal that Republican deficit hawks and tea partiers supported during the debate over raising the nation’s debt limit. The bill—which passed the House only to be tabled in the Senate—included a spending cap and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. He was among the Republicans in early 2013 who opposed an initial relief bill for damage to the East Coast from Superstorm Sandy. Critics noted that 15 years earlier, Mulvaney had accepted federal aid when flooding destroyed his business; The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., named him its “Knucklehead of the Week” for what it called his “overt hypocrisy.”

Mulvaney was highly critical of Boehner’s unsuccessful “Plan B” maneuver on taxes and spending to avert a so-called “fiscal cliff” before a bipartisan deal with the White House was struck in January 2013. Mulvaney called the final compromise “a formula for economic collapse.” When it came time a few days later to reelect Boehner as speaker, he declined to cast a vote as a “silent protest.” Subsequent news reports named him as one of the leaders of a fizzled plot to oust Boehner as speaker, although he later contended that he and Boehner patched up their differences. Mulvaney was given a seat on the Financial Services Committee, giving the Charlotte area’s banks another strong ally. That move came with the help of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who hoped (correctly, it turned out) that it would discourage Mulvaney from mounting a 2014 primary challenge.

Mulvaney sponsored a bill in September 2011 that would cut the federal workforce by 10% by 2015. The bill aimed to do this through attrition, with one federal employee hired to replace every three workers who retire or leave agency positions. The Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote in early November 2011, but it went no further. He has parted ways with other conservatives through his attempts to restrain defense spending, despite his state’s historic ties to the military. In July 2011, he offered an amendment to freeze defense spending, but it failed, 290-135. He had better luck two years later, when the House adopted his amendment to cut the Pentagon's budget by $3.5 billion on a 215-206 vote.

Mulvaney decided to seek the chairmanship of the Study Committee, the in-house group of the chamber's most conservative members that has expanded to include about two-thirds of the caucus. He initially expected to be in a tight race against Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris, but Harris dropped out of the race in September 2014 following the death of his wife, leaving Mulvaney the frontrunner against three other colleagues.

But he faced questions over whether he could unify the group's defense hawks and anti-interventionist libertarians. "I'm trying to find a way to bridge those two groups because they are both very real groups in the RSC," he told National Journal. At the same time, some RSC members expressed unease about his endorsement of a pathway to legal status for immigrants living in the country illegally. "The concern I have about Mulvaney is he seems to be forward-leaning on amnesty, and I don't think that's an RSC value," said Louisiana's John Fleming, a Harris ally.

Mulvaney's seat is the one initially represented by Kevin Spacey's devious character Frank Underwood on the TV drama House of Cards. Post-2010 census redistricting shored up Mulvaney’s political base by removing several black-majority counties from his district while adding heavily Republican Union County from the 4th District. He won easily over Democrat Joyce Knott, who waged a grossly underfunded but spirited door-to-door campaign, 56%-44%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5501

(202) 225-0464

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2419
Washington, DC 20515-4005

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5501

(202) 225-0464

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2419
Washington, DC 20515-4005

DISTRICT OFFICE

(803) 327-1114

(803) 327-4330

1456 Ebenezer Road
Rock Hill, SC 29732-2339

DISTRICT OFFICE

(803) 327-1114

(803) 327-4330

1456 Ebenezer Road
Rock Hill, SC 29732-2339

DISTRICT OFFICE

(803) 774-0186

(803) 774-0188

531-A Oxford Street
Sumter, SC 29150-3300

DISTRICT OFFICE

(803) 774-0186

(803) 774-0188

531-A Oxford Street
Sumter, SC 29150-3300

DISTRICT OFFICE

(864) 206-6004

(864) 206-6005

110 Railroad Avenue
Gaffney, SC 29340

DISTRICT OFFICE

(864) 206-6004

(864) 206-6005

110 Railroad Avenue
Gaffney, SC 29340

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

550 Ralph Hood Road
Indian Land, SC 29707

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(803) 246-1001

550 Ralph Hood Road
Indian Land, SC 29707

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Dan Hanlon
Legislative Assistant

dan.hanlon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5501

Agriculture

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Arts

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Banking

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Budget

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Disability

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Education

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Family

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Gambling

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Govt Ops

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Health

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Housing

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Human Rights

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Immigration

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Insurance

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Medicare

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Native Americans

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Public Works

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Religion

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Telecommunications

Dan Hanlon
Legislative Assistant

dan.hanlon@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5501

Trade

Natalee Binkholder
Legislative Director

Transportation

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Welfare

Moutray McLaren
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Mick Mulvaney
Votes: 154,324
Percent: 55.56%
Joyce Knott
Votes: 123,443
Percent: 44.44%
2012 PRIMARY
Mick Mulvaney
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Mick Mulvaney
Votes: 125,834
Percent: 55.12%
John Spratt
Votes: 102,296
Percent: 44.81%
2010 PRIMARY
Mick Mulvaney
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (55%)

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