Ben Cardin

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Ben Cardin
Ben Cardin.jpg
U.S. Senate, Maryland
In office
January 3, 2007-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2019
Years in position 8
PredecessorPaul Sarbanes (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 7, 2006
Next generalNovember 2018
Campaign $$18,157,133
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives
Maryland State House of Delegates
Associate'sBaltimore City College
Bachelor'sUniversity of Pittsburgh
J.D.University of Maryland, Baltimore
Date of birthOctober 5, 1943
Place of birthBaltimore, Maryland
Net worth(2012) $5,276,037.50
Office website
Campaign website
Ben Cardin campaign logo
Benjamin Louis "Ben" Cardin (b. October 5, 1943, in Baltimore, MD) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Maryland. Cardin was first elected to the Senate in 2006.[1]

Cardin ran for re-election in 2012. Eighteen other candidates ran in the primary election on April 3, 2012.[2] Cardin defeated Raymond Blagmon, C. Anthony Muse, J.P. Cusick, Christopher Garner, Ralph Jaffe, Blaine Taylor, Ed Tinus and Lih Young in the Democratic primary.[3]

Cardin won re-election on November 6, 2012.[4]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Cardin is one of the most reliable Democratic votes, meaning he can be considered a safe vote for the Democratic Party in Congress.


Cardin was born in 1943 in Baltimore, MD, where he also attended high school. After graduating from Baltimore City College in 1961, he went on to earn his B.A. at the University of Pittsburgh in 1964 and his J.D. at the University of Maryland in 1967. Cardin has also worked as a lawyer.[1]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Cardin's political career:[1]

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Cardin serves on the following Senate committees:[5]


Cardin served on the following Senate committees:[6][7]


Cardin served on the following Senate committees:[8]

Key votes

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[9] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Cardin's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[10]

National security

Committee vote on Syria

See also: United States involvement in Syria

Yea3.png On September 4, 2013, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly approved an authorization for President Obama to use limited force against Syria. It was approved by a 10-7 vote.[11][12]

The vote came after a three-hour briefing with top Obama administration officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.[11]

Of the nine Democratic members and eight Republican members that made up the committee, seven Democrats and three Republicans voted in favor, while five Republicans and two Democrats opposed the authorization.[13] A single "present" vote was cast by Ed Markey (D). Cardin was one of the seven Democrats who approved the authorization.[14]

John Brennan CIA nomination

Yea3.png Cardin voted for the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[15]


Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Farm bill

Yea3.png On February 4, 2014, the Democratic controlled Senate approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[16] It passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that will kick in if or when prices drop; however, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[17] Cardin joined with 46 other Democratic senators in favor of the bill.

2014 Budget

Yea3.png On January 16, 2014, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[18][19] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[19] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[20] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts. Cardin voted with the Democratic Party in favor of the bill.[18][19]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Yea3.png During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[21] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Cardin voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[22]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Yea3.png Cardin voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[15]


Mexico-U.S. border

Nay3.png Cardin voted against Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[15]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Yea3.png Cardin voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[15]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Cardin voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[23]


On The Issues Vote Match

Benjamin Cardin's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Cardin is a Populist-Leaning Liberal. Cardin received a score of 66 percent on social issues and 24 percent on economic issues.[24]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[25]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Favors
Expand ObamaCare Favors Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Favors
Vouchers for school choice Strongly Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Strongly Opposes
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Opposes Human needs over animal rights Strongly Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Favors Stricter punishment reduces crime Opposes
Support & expand free trade Favors Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Favors
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Strongly Opposes
Prioritize green energy Favors Expand the military Favors
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Opposes Stay out of Iran Favors
Privatize Social Security Opposes Never legalize marijuana Strongly Opposes
Note: Information last updated: April 19, 2015.[24] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.



Cardin was endorsed by the organization Progressive Maryland in the race for U.S. Senate.[26] Cardin was also endorsed by President Obama, County Executive Rushern Baker and Governor Martin O'Malley.[27]



See also: United States Senate elections in Maryland, 2012

Cardin ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Maryland.[28] Cardin defeated Dan Bongino in the general election. Cardin defeated Raymond Blagmon, C. Anthony Muse, J.P. Cusick, Christopher Garner, Ralph Jaffe, Blaine Taylor, Ed Tinus and Lih Young in the Democratic primary.[3]

General election

U.S. Senate, Maryland General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBen Cardin Incumbent 56% 1,474,028
     Republican Dan Bongino 26.3% 693,291
     Libertarian Dean Ahmad 1.2% 32,252
     Independent Rob Sobhani 16.4% 430,934
     Democratic Lih Young (Write-in) 0% 163
     Republican Mary Podlesak (Write-in) 0% 21
     Independent Brandy Baker 0% 151
     Independent Ed Tinus 0% 48
     N/A Other Write-ins 0.1% 2,346
Total Votes 2,633,234
Source: Maryland State Board of Elections "U.S. Senator"

Primary Election

U.S. Senate, Maryland Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBen Cardin Incumbent 74.2% 240,704
Raymond Blagmon 1.8% 5,909
C. Anthony Muse 15.7% 50,807
J.P. Cusick 1.5% 4,778
Christopher Garner 2.9% 9,274
Ralph Jaffe 1% 3,313
Blaine Taylor 1.3% 4,376
Ed Tinus 0.3% 1,064
Lih Young 1.2% 3,993
Total Votes 324,218

Full history


On November 7, 2006, Cardin won election to the United States Senate. He defeated Michael S. Steele (R), Kevin Zeese (G) and Lih Young (D, Write-In) in the general election.[30]

U.S. Senate General Election, Maryland, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBen Cardin 54.2% 965,477
     Republican Michael S. Steele 44.2% 787,182
     Green Kevin Zeese 1.5% 27,564
     Democratic, Write-In Lih Young 0% 120
     Independent Write-In 0% 796
Total Votes 1,781,139

Campaign donors

Fundraising events

The below chart from Find The Best tracks the fundraising events Cardin attends.

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Comprehensive donor history

Comprehensive donor information for Ben Cardin is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, Ben Cardin raised a total of $18,157,133 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 24, 2013.[31]

Ben Cardin's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. Senate (Maryland) Won $6,908,143
2006 U.S. Senate (Maryland) Won $8,739,737
2004 U.S. House of Representatives (Maryland District 3) Won $941,126
2002 U.S. House of Representatives (Maryland District 3) Won $827,419
2000 U.S. House of Representatives (Maryland District 3) Won $740,708
Grand Total Raised $18,157,133

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.


Cardin won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Cardin's campaign committee raised a total of $6,908,143 and spent $6,281,916.[32]

Cost per vote

Cardin spent $4.27 per vote received in 2012.


Cardin won election to the U.S. Senate in 2006. During that election cycle, Cardin's campaign committee raised a total of $8,739,737 and spent $8,799,604.[33]

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a two-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of two different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Cardin's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $3,164,075 and $7,388,000. That averages to $5,276,037.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2012 of $13,566,333. Cardin ranked as the 28th most wealthy senator in 2012.[34] Between 2004 and 2012, Cardin's calculated net worth[35] increased by an average of 9 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[36]

Ben Cardin Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:71%
Average annual growth:9%[37]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[38]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

PGI: Donation Concentration Metric

See also: The Donation Concentration Metric (U.S. Congress Personal Gain Index)

Filings required by the Federal Election Commission report on the industries that give to each candidate. Using campaign filings and information calculated by, Ballotpedia calculated the percentage of donations by industry received by each incumbent over the course of his or her career (or 1989 and later, if elected prior to 1988). Cardin received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Lawyers/Law Firms industry.

From 1989-2014, 29.55 percent of Cardin's career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.[39]

Donation Concentration Metric graphic.png
Ben Cardin Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $21,248,284
Total Spent $20,727,401
Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee
Lawyers/Law Firms$1,790,578
Real Estate$1,270,374
Health Professionals$1,256,147
Securities & Investment$1,023,872
% total in top industry8.43%
% total in top two industries14.41%
% total in top five industries29.55%


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Cardin was a "moderate Democratic leader" as of July 22, 2014. This was the same rating Cardin received in June 2013.[40]

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Cardin missed 9 of 2,363 roll call votes from January 2007 to July 2014, which is 0.4% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 2.0% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.[41]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[42]

Cardin most often votes with:

Cardin least often votes with:

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Cardin paid his congressional staff a total of $2,838,620 in 2011. He ranked 15th on the list of the highest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 19th overall of the highest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Maryland ranked 33rd in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[43]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.


Cardin ranked 5th in the liberal rankings in 2013.[44]


Cardin ranked 10th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[45]


Cardin ranked 10th in the liberal rankings in 2011.[46]

Voting with party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.


Cardin voted with the Democratic Party 98.8 percent of the time, which ranked 2nd among the 53 Senate Democratic members as of July 2014.[47]


Cardin voted with the Democratic Party 96 percent of the time, which ranked 5th among the 51 Senate Democratic members as of March 2012.[48]


Cardin has been married to his wife Myrna (nee Edelman) since 1964. They have a daughter.[49]

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Ben Cardin News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Congress Biographical Guide, "Ben Cardin," accessed August 21, 2013
  2. City Biz List, "Eighteen Challengers Vie for Cardin's Senate Seat," accessed February 18, 2012 (dead link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Maryland State Board of Elections, "Primary Election Results 2012," accessed April 3, 2012
  4. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Maryland" accessed 2012
  5. United States Senate, "Committee Assignments," accessed February 4, 2015
  6. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
  7. United States Senate, "Committee Assignments," accessed March 29, 2014
  8. U.S. Senate Official Website, "Committee Assignments," accessed October 29, 2011
  9. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  10. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 Politico, "Senate panel approves Syria measure," accessed September 5, 2013
  12. USA Today, "Senate committee approves Syria attack resolution," accessed September 5, 2013
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named syriacommitteevote
  14. Politico, "How Senate Foreign Relations Committee members voted on Syria," accessed September 5, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Project Vote Smart, "Ben Cardin Key Votes," accessed October 17, 2013
  16., "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
  17. NY Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
  20. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  21. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  22., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  23. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  24. 24.0 24.1 On The Issues, "Benjamin Cardin Vote Match," accessed April 19, 2015
  25. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  26. Hometown Annapolis, "Political Notes: Maryland gets C+ on transparency," accessed March 26, 2012 (dead link)
  27. Washington Post, "Muse faces uphill battle in primary against Cardin," accessed March 29, 2012
  28. ABC 2 News, "Senator Ben Cardin will announce his re-election campaign this weekend," accessed January 5, 2012
  29. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  30. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed October 29, 2011
  31. Open Secrets, "Donor history for Ben Cardin," accessed April 2013
  32. Open Secrets, "Ben Cardin 2012 Election Cycle," accessed February 2013
  33. Open Secrets, "Ben Cardin 2006 Election Cycle," accessed October 29 2011
  34. OpenSecrets, "Cardin, (D-MD), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  35. This figure represents the average annual percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below) to 2012, divided by the number of years calculated.
  36. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  37. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  38. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  39., "Sen. Ben Cardin," accessed September 18, 2014
  40. GovTrack, "Ben Cardin," accessed July 22, 2014
  41. GovTrack, "Ben Cardin," accessed July 22, 2014
  42. OpenCongress, "Ben Cardin," accessed July 22, 2014
  43. LegiStorm, "Ben Cardin" accessed 2012
  44. National Journal, "2013 Senate Vote Ratings," accessed July 22, 2014
  45. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," accessed February 26, 2013
  46. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  47. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  48. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  49. Official Site, "About Ben," accessed October 29 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Sarbanes
U.S. Senate - Maryland
Succeeded by
Preceded by
U.S. House - Maryland
Succeeded by