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Jo Bonner

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Jo Bonner
Jo Bonner.jpg
U.S. House, Alabama, District 1
Former member
In office
2003-August 2, 2013
PredecessorSonny Callahan (R)
Chair, House Ethics Committee
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 5, 2002
Campaign $$6,762,878
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Alabama
Date of birthNovember 19, 1959
Place of birthSelma, Alabama
ProfessionPolitical Assistant
Net worth(2012) $6,786,510
Josiah Robins "Jo" Bonner, Jr. (b. November 19, 1959, in Selma, AL) was a Republican member of the U.S. House representing Alabama's 1st Congressional District. Bonner was first elected to the House in 2002 and resigned in August 2013.

Bonner announced his resignation on May 23, 2013, effective August 2. He previously planned to resign on August 15 but moved up the date so the special election could be held in time for a replacement to take office before January.[1] He left Congress to take a position as vice chancellor of government and economic development at the University of Alabama.[2]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Bonner was an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he voted with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.


Bonner was born in Selma, Alabama. He earned his B.A. from the University of Alabama in 1982 and attended the University of Alabama Law School but did not earn a degree.[3]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Bonner's academic, professional and political career:[4]

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Bonner served on the following committees:[5]

  • Appropriations Committee
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Defense
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services


Bonner served on the following committees:[6]


Campaign themes


Bonner's campaign website listed the following issues:[7]

  • Jobs Create Opportunity for All
Excerpt: "Lower taxes and less government intrusion will create job growth"
  • Preserve Individual Freedom & Personal Responsibility
Excerpt: "Fight to repeal ObamaCare"
  • Defend Our Nation
Excerpt: "Protect our National interests abroad"
  • Cut Government Spending
Excerpt: "Cut spending—get the exploding deficit under control"

Political positions

Heritage Action for America, a conservative policy advocacy organization, reported that 55% of Bonner's votes aligned with Heritage's preferred policy stances.[8]

Bonner received a 0% on the legislative scorecards for NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union.[9]

In 2008, following Bonner's appointment to the Appropriations Committee, free-market advocacy group FreedomWorks called on Bonner to accept a personal one-year moratorium on accepting earmarks. A FreedomWorks statement said that "Representative Bonner has a long history of securing earmarks for his district, and voting in favor of egregious pork projects on the House floor."[10]

Bonner declined to join the Tea Party Caucus, saying, "I try not to get involved in caucuses that make me look like a radical, right-wing nut."[11]

Influential conservative website RedState endorsed Dean Young over Bonner in 2012, calling Young "the only challenger who has spent some money and has gained any traction." RedState also said, “Although Young has no record as an elected official, he has successfully fought against tax increases on a local level and will clearly be more conservative than Bonner."[12]

Fiscal Cliff

Nay3.png Bonner voted against 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. He was 1 of 151 Republicans that voted against the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257 - 167 vote on January 1, 2013.[13]

Voting record

In 2007, Bonner voted to increase the federal minimum wage.[14] In 2008, he voted in favor of TARP, the financial bail out package.[11] Bonner voted against Republican-supported regulations on the credit-card industry and the Cash for Clunkers program.[15] Bonner supported the Iraq war and opposed a timetable for withdrawal of American troops.[11] He supports warrantless wiretapping. Bonner supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and he voted against repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell."[16] Bonner voted to raise America's debt ceiling.[17]

Ethics investigation

In September 2011, Dean Young sent a letter to the United States House Committee on Ethics requesting that committee chairman Bonner recuse himself from any oversight of his personal financial disclosure statement. Young made the request due to allegations that Bonner improperly received investigative information from the committee’s probes of two lawmakers. The alleged secret communication concerned the investigations of Charles B. Rangel and Maxine Waters. The committee's former staff director accused two committee attorneys of improperly sharing investigative information with Republicans on the panel, including Bonner.[18][19] Bonner, along with five other members of the Ethics Committee, officially recused themselves from the Waters investigation in February 2012.[20]



See also: United States House of Representatives elections in Alabama, 2012

Bonner won re-election to the 1st Congressional District in 2012. He defeated Peter Gounares, Pete Riehm and Dean Young in the March 13 Republican primary election and was unopposed in the November 6 general election.[21]

U.S. House, Alabama District 1 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJo Bonner Incumbent 97.9% 196,374
     N/A Write-In 2.1% 4,302
Total Votes 200,676
Source: Alabama Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"
U.S. House, Alabama District 1 Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJo Bonner Incumbent 55.6% 48,481
Dean Young 24.3% 21,216
Pete Riehm 15.7% 13,744
Peter Gounares 4.4% 3,828
Total Votes 87,269

Campaign for Primary Accountability

A super PAC called the Campaign for Primary Accountability spent $21,000 to try to unseat Bonner. Bonner told the New York Times that “obviously, when the Supreme Court made their decision to open up corporate war chests, this is the result." Bonner said he believed he would survive the primary challenge because his campaign expenditures far exceed the money being spent against him. “If I hadn’t had $1 million in my account, I could be underwater right now,” said Bonner.[22] The Campaign for Primary Accountability assisted Dean Young in his effort to unseat Bonner.[23]

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Bonner is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Bonner raised a total of $6,762,878 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 21, 2013.[29]

Jo Bonner's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. House (Alabama, District 1) Won $1,140,566
2010 U.S. House (Alabama, District 1) Won $913,053
2008 U.S. House (Alabama, District 1) Won $842,270
2006 U.S. House (Alabama, District 1) Won $1,060,001
2004 U.S. House (Alabama, District 1) Won $1,180,892
2002 U.S. House (Alabama, District 1) Won $1,626,096
Grand Total Raised $6,762,878


Candidates for Congress were required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Bonner's reports.[30]

Jo Bonner (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[31]April 10, 2013$157,209.22$77,281.86$(86,321.86)$148,169.22
July Quarterly[32]July 8, 2013$148,169.22$8,400$(47,041.64)$109,527.58
Running totals


Breakdown of the source of Bonner's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Bonner won re-election to the U.S. House in 2012. During that election cycle, Bonner's campaign committee raised a total of $1,140,567 and spent $1,263,168.[33] This is less than the average $1.5 million spent by House winners in 2012.[34]

Cost per vote

Bonner spent $6.43 per vote received in 2012.


Breakdown of the source of Bonner's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Bonner won re-election to the U.S. House in 2010. During that election cycle, Bonner's campaign committee raised a total of $913,053 and spent $1,101,701.[35]

His top five contributors between 2009-2010 were:


Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Bonner was a "rank-and-file Republican," as of May 31, 2013.[36]

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.[37]

Bonner most often votes with:

Bonner least often votes with:

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.


Bonner ranked 146th in the conservative rankings in 2012.[38]


Bonner ranked 138th in the conservative rankings in 2011.[39]

Voting with party


Bonner voted with the Republican Party 97.4 percent of the time, which ranked 98th among the 233 House Republican members as of June 2013.[40]

Lifetime missed votes

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

According to the website GovTrack, Bonner missed 346 of 7,661 roll call votes from January 2003 to March 2013. This amounts to 4.5 percent, which is worse than the median of 2.2 percent among current congressional representatives as of March 2013.[41]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives


The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Bonner paid his congressional staff a total of $1,020,319 in 2011. He ranked 210th on the list of the lowest paid Republican representative staff salaries and ranked 294th overall of the lowest paid representative staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Alabama ranked 22nd in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[42]

Staff bonuses

According to an analysis by CNN, Bonner was one of nearly 25 percent of House members who gave their staff bonuses in 2012. Bonner's staff was given an apparent $31,415.91 in bonus money.[43]

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

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Bonner's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $2,137,025 and $11,435,995. That averages to $6,786,510, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican representatives in 2012 of $7,614,097.96. Bonner ranked as the 55th most wealthy representative in 2012.[44]

Jo Bonner Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
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.


Bonner and his wife, Janee, have two children, Jennifer and Josiah.[45]

Recent news

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

Jo Bonner News Feed

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See also

External links

Political Tracker has an article on:
Josiah Bonner


  1. Tuscalossa News, "Jo Bonner to resign two weeks earlier than planned," July 23, 2013
  2. blog.al.com, "BREAKING: Rep. Jo Bonner resigning from Congress," May 23, 2013
  3. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "BONNER, Jr., Josiah Robins (Jo), (1959 - )"
  4. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Josiah Robins Bonner, Jr.," accessed October 28, 2011
  5. CQ.com - Roll Call, "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress," accessed January 18, 2013
  6. Congressman Jo Bonner, Representing the 1st District of Alabama, "About Congressman Jo Bonner"
  7. Campaign website, Issues
  8. Heritage Action for America, "Scorecard," accessed February 24, 2012
  9. The Hill, "Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala., 1st) Lawmaker Scorecard," accessed February 24, 2012
  10. FreedomWorks, "FreedomWorks Calls on Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL) to Take Personal Earmark Pledge," February 15, 2008
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Washington Post, "Jo Bonner (R-Ala.)," accessed February 24, 2012
  12. Al.com, "Presidential candidates stump on Gulf Coast; latest endorsements and more (Political Skinny)," March 12, 2012
  13. U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  14. House of Representatives Vote Results, "Fair Minimum Wage Act," January 10, 2007
  15. House of Representatives Vote Results, "Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009," April 30, 2009
  16. House of Representatives Vote Results, "Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania Amendment No. 79," May 27, 2010
  17. Al.com, "Congressional hopeful Pete Riehm wants larger federal budget cuts, including to defense," November 30, 2011
  18. Al.com, "Dean Young chides Rep. Jo Bonner over Ethics Committee controversy," September 14, 2011
  19. Talking Points Memo, "Only In Washington: Ethics Questions Follow Ethics Chairman," September 22, 2011
  20. Washington Times, "Six House members recuse themselves from Waters’ case," February 17, 2012
  21. ABC News, "2012 General Election Results," accessed November 6, 2012
  22. New York Times, "‘Super PAC’ Increasing Congress’s Sense of Insecurity," March 8, 2012
  23. New York Times, "Anti-Incumbent Sentiment Fuels Primary Fights in Deep South," March 12, 2012
  24. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  25. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  26. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  27. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
  28. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
  29. Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Jo Bonner," accessed March 21, 2013
  30. Federal Election Commission, "Jo Bonner Summary Report," accessed July 22, 2013
  31. Federal Election Commission, "Jo Bonner April Quarterly," accessed July 22, 2013
  32. Federal Election Commission, "Jo Bonner July Quarterly," accessed July 22, 2013
  33. Open Secrets, "Jo Bonner 2012 Election Cycle," accessed February 19, 2013
  34. Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," accessed June 19, 2013
  35. Open Secrets, "Jo Bonner 2010 Election Cycle," accessed October 28 2011
  36. GovTrack, "Jo Bonner," accessed May 31, 2013
  37. OpenCongress, "Rep. Jo Bonner," accessed July 24, 2013
  38. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 21, 2013
  39. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  40. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  41. GovTrack, "Jo Bonner," accessed March 26, 2013
  42. LegiStorm, "Jo Bonner"
  43. CNN Politics, "Congressional bonuses in a time of cuts," accessed March 8, 2013
  44. OpenSecrets, "Jo Bonner (R-Ala), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  45. "Congressman Jo Bonner, Biography," Jo Bonner's Congressional Website, accessed March 12, 2012
Political offices
Preceded by
Sonny Callahan
U.S. House of Representatives - Alabama, District 1
Succeeded by
Bradley Byrne