Chris Coons

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Chris Coons
Chris Coons.jpg
U.S. Senate, Delaware
In office
November 15, 2010-present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 4
PredecessorEdward Kaufman (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last election November 4, 2014
First elected2010
Next primarySeptember 29, 2014
Campaign $$3,852,049
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
New Castle County Executive
New Castle Council President
High schoolTower Hill School
Bachelor'sAmherst (1985)
Master'sYale Divinity School (1992)
J.D.Yale Law School (1992)
BirthdaySeptember 9, 1963
Place of birthGreenwich, Connecticut
Net worth$7,153,988
Office website
Campaign website
Christopher Andrew "Chris" Coons (b. September 9, 1963, in Greenwich, CT) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Delaware. Coons was first elected to the Senate in 2010 in a special election against Christine O'Donnell.[2]

Coons was appointed to the Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful committees in Congress on June 20, 2013.[3] The appointment makes Coons the first Delawarean to serve on the committee in 40 years.[3]

Coons previously served as the New Castle County Executive from 2000 to 2004 and as the New Castle Council President from 2004 to 2010.[4]

Coons won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2014.[5] He was unchallenged in the Democratic primary and defeated Kevin Wade (R) and Andrew Groff (G) in the general election on November 4, 2014.[6]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Coons is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


Coons grew up in Hockessin, DE. He graduated from the Tower Hill School and then Amherst College in 1985 with a B.A. in chemistry and political science. In 1983, Chris Coons was awarded the Truman Scholarship. During his junior year of college, Coons studied abroad at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. He earned a M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School and a J.D. from Yale Law School.[7]


Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Coons serves on the following Senate committees:[8]


Coons served on the following committees in the 112th Congress:[9]

Key votes

113th Congress


The 113th Congress has had 55 out of 5,401 introduced bills enacted into law (1 percent) as of November 30, 2013. Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 1.14 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the first session.[10] The Senate has confirmed 16,878 out of 19,009 executive nominations received thus far (88.8 percent). For more information pertaining to Coons's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[11]

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.[12][13]

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.[12]

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.[14] A single "present" vote was cast by Ed Markey (D). Coons was one of the seven Democrats who approved the authorization.[15]

John Brennan CIA nomination

Yea3.png Coons 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.[16]


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.[17] 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.[18] Coons 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.[19][20] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[20] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[21] 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. Coons voted with the Democratic Party in favor of the bill.[19][20]

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.[22] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Coons voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[23]

Pay during government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Coons announced he would "send the Treasury a check for the salary he is paid during the shutdown."[24]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Yea3.png Coons 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.[16]


Mexico-U.S. border

Nay3.png Coons 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.[16]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Yea3.png Coons 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.[16]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Coons 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.[25]


On The Issues Vote Match

Chris Coons' 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, Coons is a Liberal Populist. Coons received a score of 48 percent on social issues and 8 percent on economic issues.[26]

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[27]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Favors
Expand ObamaCare Favors Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Favors
Vouchers for school choice Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Unknown
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Opposes Human needs over animal rights Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Strongly Favors Stricter punishment reduces crime Strongly Favors
Support & expand free trade Strongly Opposes Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Favors
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Strongly Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Strongly Opposes
Prioritize green energy Favors Expand the military Opposes
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Strongly Favors Stay out of Iran Opposes
Privatize Social Security Strongly Opposes Never legalize marijuana Unknown
Note: Information last updated: 2014.[26]



See also: United States Senate elections in Delaware, 2014

Coons won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2014. He was unchallenged in the Democratic primary and defeated Kevin Wade (R) and Andrew Groff (G) in the general election on November 4, 2014.[6]

U.S. Senate, Delaware General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngChris Coons Incumbent 55.8% 130,655
     Republican Kevin Wade 42.2% 98,823
     Green Andrew Groff 1.9% 4,560
Total Votes 234,038
Source: Delaware Department of Elections


On November 2, 2010, Coons won election to the United States Senate. He defeated Christine O'Donnell (R), Glenn A. Miller (I), James W. Rash, Jr. (L), Maurice F. Bourgeois (I) and Samtra Devard (I) in the general election.[28]

U.S. Senate, Delaware Special General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngChris A. Coons 56.6% 174,012
     Republican Christine O'Donnell 40% 123,053
     Independent Party of Delaware Glenn A. Miller 2.7% 8,201
     Libertarian James W. Rash, Jr. 0.7% 2,101
     Independent Maurice F. Bourgeois 0% 25
     Independent Samtra Devard 0% 10
Total Votes 307,402

Campaign donors

Fundraising events

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

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Comprehensive donor history

Comprehensive donor information for Coons is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Coons raised a total of $3,852,049 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 3, 2013.[29]

Chris Coons's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2010 U.S. Senate (Delaware) Won $3,852,049
Grand Total Raised $3,852,049

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Coons' reports.

Chris Coons (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[30]May 10, 2013$806,862$464,523$(101,023)$1,170,362
July Quarterly[31]July 15, 2013$1,170,362$1,130,305$(296,856)$2,003,811
October Quarterly[32]October 13, 2013$2,003,811$540,277$(149,889)$2,394,200
Year-End[33]January 31, 2014$2,394,200$644,084$(184,858)$2,853,426
April Quarterly[34]April 15, 2014$2,853,426$582,927$(313,298)$3,123,056
July Quarterly[35]July 15, 2014$3,123,056$530,141$(512,197)$3,140,999
Pre-Primary[36]August 28, 2014$3,140,999$281,190$(729,797)$2,692,392
October Quarterly[37]October 15, 2014$2,692,392$321,407$(1,490,654)$1,523,145
Running totals


Coons won election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. During that election cycle, Coons' campaign committee raised a total of $3,852,049 and spent $3,505,975.[38]

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 four-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 four 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, Coons' net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $4,554,493 and $9,753,484. That averages to $7,153,988, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2012 of $13,566,333.90. Coons ranked as the 21st most wealthy senator in 2012.[39] Between 2009 and 2012, Coons' calculated net worth[40] increased by an average of 8 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[41]

Chris Coons Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2009 to 2012:24%
Average annual growth:8%[42]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[43]
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). Coons received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Lawyers/Law Firms industry.

From 2009-2014, 35.66 percent of Coons' career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.[44]

Donation Concentration Metric graphic.png
Chris Coons Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $9,078,866
Total Spent $6,386,475
Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee
Lawyers/Law Firms$1,639,580
Leadership PACs$585,400
Securities & Investment$391,300
% total in top industry18.06%
% total in top two industries24.51%
% total in top five industries35.66%


Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Coons is a "rank-and-file Democrat," as of July 2014. This was the same rating Coons received in June 2013.[45]

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.[46]

Coons most often votes with:

Coons least often votes with:

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Coons missed 11 of 1,056 roll call votes from November 2010 to July 2014. This amounts to 1 percent, which is better than the median of 2 percent among current senators as of July 2014.[47]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Coons paid his congressional staff a total of $2,065,764 in 2011. He ranked 4th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 16th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Delaware ranked 39th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[48]

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 in the previous year. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.


Coons ranked 35th in the liberal rankings among U.S. senators in 2013.[49]


Coons ranked 11th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[50]


Coons ranked 21st in the liberal rankings in 2011.[51]

Voting with party

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


Coons voted with the Democratic Party 94.4 percent of the time, which ranked 29th among the 53 Senate Democratic members as of July 2014.[52]


Coons voted with the Democratic Party 92.9 percent of the time, which ranked 34th among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[53]


A longtime New Castle County resident, Chris grew up in the Pike Creek and Hockessin areas and lives in Wilmington with his wife, Annie, and their three children, Michael, Jack, and Maggie.[54]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Chris + Coons + Delaware + Senate

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

Chris Coons News Feed

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See also

External links

Political Tracker has an article on:
Chris Coons


  1. Politics Daily, "What Is Christopher Coons' Religion?," accessed October 12, 2011
  2. Real Clear Politics, "Delaware Senate - O’Donnell vs. Coons," accessed December 17, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Delaware Online, "Sen. Chris Coons appointed to powerful Appropriations Committee," accessed June 20, 2013
  4. Project Vote Smart, "Chris Coons," accessed June 19, 2013
  5. Delaware Secretary of State, "General election candidates," accessed July 8, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Huffington Post, "Election 2014," November 4, 2014
  7. Chris Coons, U.S. Senator for Delaware, "Meet Chris Coons," accessed October 12, 2011
  8. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
  9. United States Government Printing Office, "Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Twelfth Congress," accessed October 12, 2011
  10. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  11. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 Politico, "Senate panel approves Syria measure," accessed September 5, 2013
  13. USA Today, "Senate committee approves Syria attack resolution," accessed September 5, 2013
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named syriacommitteevote
  15. Politico, "How Senate Foreign Relations Committee members voted on Syria," accessed September 5, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Project Vote Smart, "Chris Coons Key Votes," accessed October 16, 2013
  17., "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
  18. NY Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  19. 19.0 19.1 Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
  21. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  22. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  23., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  24. Washington Post, "Which lawmakers will refuse their pay during the shutdown?," accessed October 2, 2013
  25. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 On The Issues, "Chris Coons Vote Match," accessed June 18, 2014
  27. 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.
  28. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," November 2, 2010
  29. Open Secrets, "Chris Coons," accessed April 3, 2013
  30. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly" accessed July 26, 2013
  31. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly" accessed July 26, 2013
  32. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 29, 2013
  33. Federal Election Commission, "Chris Coons Year-End," accessed February 14, 2014
  34. Federal Election Commission, "Chris Coons April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Chris Coons July Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2014
  36. Federal Election Commission, "Chris Coons Pre-Primary," accessed September 4, 2014
  37. Federal Election Commission, "Chris Coons October Quarterly," accessed October 24, 2014
  38. Open Secrets, "Chris Coons 2010 Election Cycle," accessed November 7, 2011
  39. OpenSecrets, "Chris Coons (D-Del), 2012," accessed March 4, 2013
  40. 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.
  41. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  42. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  43. 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.
  44., "Sen. Chris Coons," accessed September 18, 2014
  45. GovTrack, "Chris Coons," accessed July 17, 2014
  46. OpenCongress, "Rep. Chris Coons," accessed July 14, 2014
  47. GovTrack, "Chris Coons," accessed July 17, 2014
  48. LegiStorm, "Chris Coons," accessed August 6, 2012
  49. National Journal, "2013 Senate Vote Ratings," accessed July 17, 2014
  50. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
  51. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," accessed February 23, 2012
  52. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  53. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  54. Chris Coons, U.S. Senator for Delaware, "Meet Chris Coons," accessed October 12, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Ted Kaufman
U.S. Senate-Delaware
Succeeded by