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
AssociatesBaltimore City College
Bachelor'sUniversity of Pittsburgh
J.D.University of Maryland, Baltimore
Date of birthOctober 5, 1943
Place of birthBaltimore, Maryland
Net worth$2,707,037
Office website
Campaign website
Ben Cardin campaign logo
Benjamin Louis "Ben" Cardin (b. October 5, 1943, in Baltimore, Maryland) 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 April 3, 2012 primary election.[2] Cardin defeated Raymond Blagmon, C. Anthony Muse, J.P. Cusick, Christopher Garner, Ralph Jaffe, Blaine Taylor, Ed Tinus, Lih Young in the Democratic primary.[3]

Incumbent 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 she can be considered a safe vote for the Democratic Party in Congress.


Cardin was born in 1943 in Baltimore, Maryland, 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]:

  • Maryland State House of Delegates, 1966-1986
  • U.S. House of Representatives, 1987-2007
  • U.S. Senate, 2007-Present

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Cardin serves on the following Senate committees[5]:


Cardin served on the following Senate committees[6]:


Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[7] 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.[8]

National security

American response in Syria
See also: United States involvement in Syria

Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told John Kerry and Gen. Martin Dempsey that he supports the president’s objectives in Syria, but believes the military response should be limited.[9] Cardin also asked Kerry about other countries that would join the United States in this military action.

"We understand that America would be in the lead, but it does not seem like we have a growing list of countries that are joining us in the military operation," Cardin said during a hearing on September 3, 2013.[9]

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Syria authorization
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.[10][11]

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.[10]

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.[12] A single "present" vote was cast by Ed Markey (D). Cardin was one of the seven Democrats who approved the authorization.[13]

Russian proposal

Cardin said September 9, 2013, that the Russian proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control would be the “best possible outcome” of the debate over the use of the weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad.[14]

When asked by MSNBC host Ed Schultz if he was skeptical of the Russian offer Cardin answered, “Absolutely, but I would like to pursue it because I think if we can achieve international control of the chemical weapons, that’s the best possible outcome right now of the weapons that are in, the chemical weapons that are in Syria.”[14]

“I think we should always be prepared and understand the vulnerability of an open society and we always have to be on our toes,” Cardin said. “But I think President Assad has lost his legitimacy in the way he has governed in Syria. And that’s not just a United States senator saying that. The international community is saying it, the leaders in that region are saying it. So it’s time for change in Syria. Right now, our objective is to deal with the use of chemical weapons.”[14]

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "Yes" 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]


No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" 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 suspended 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]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Voted "Yes" Cardin voted for the 2013 Senate Budget Proposal.[15] On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014. Cardin was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.[15]

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan would have brought the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs now, and it orders up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.

The Senate plan differed greatly, and included $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.


Completion of fence along Mexico border

Voted "No" 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 Reauthorization Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" 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

Voted "Yes" 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 a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[16]

Senate Judiciary Committee

Cardin is a former member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly after he was first sworn into the Senate in 2007.[17] When Cardin was in the US House, he served in the House Judiciary Committee. While on the committee, Cardin served as one of the managers for the impeachment proceedings of former federal judge Walter Nixon in 1989.[18]

Ricci v. DeStefano witness panel

Cardin presided in the witness panel during Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing to the Supreme Court of the United States in 2009 over the Ricci v. DeStefano case. New Haven, Connecticut firefighters Frank Ricci and Lieutenant Ben Vargas who were a couple of the plaintiffs in the case were invited to testify as witnesses for the Republicans on the committee.[19]

When the case was discussed during the discussion panel, both Vargas and Ricci testified with Wade Henderson from The Leadership Council on Civil Rights and Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel who were witnesses for the Democrat members on the committee.[19]

During the witness panel, Attorney General McDaniel defended the ruling the Second Circuit issued in Ricci v. DeStefano. Judge Sotomayor was one of three judges who heard oral arguments in the case. McDaniel defended the three sentence summary order the Second Circuit issued claiming that the appeals court was consistent in its ruling citing 28 years of previous rulings in similar cases involving discrimination on civil service examinations. Also, McDaniel said that the ruling was in line with the doctrine of stare decisis.[20] McDaniel was one of five state Attorneys general to file an Amicus brief in support of the Second Circuit ruling when the U.S. Supreme Court granted certorati.[20]

However, both Lt. Vargas and Ricci countered with McDaniel's testimony and said that the case took a personal and emotional toll on themselves and their families. Ricci who suffers from dyslexia gave up a second job to study thirteen hours a day on a promotion test in the New Haven Fire Department. Ricci said to the committee that he was an "absentee father" sacrificing time from his kids and wife to secure the promotion.[21]

Lt. Vargas is Puerto Rican and said that the case focused too much on race and too little on who was qualified to be promoted to the New Haven Fire Department. Vargas said to Senator Cardin after the Second Circuit issued its ruling "that I was penalized for my hard work" as his reaction to the ruling.[21]



See also: United States Senate elections in Maryland, 2012

Cardin ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Maryland. [22] Cardin defeated Dan Bongino in the general election. In the primary, Cardin defeated Raymond Blagmon, C. Anthony Muse, J.P. Cusick, Christopher Garner, Ralph Jaffe, Blaine Taylor, Ed Tinus, 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.[24]

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

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.[25]

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) $740,708
Grand Total Raised $18,157,133


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

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.[26]

Cost per vote

Cardin spent $4.27 per vote received in 2012.


Breakdown of the source of Cardin's campaign funds before the 2006 election.

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.[27]



Cardin was endorsed by the organization Progressive Maryland in the race for U.S. Senate. [28] Cardin has also been endorsed by President Obama, County Executive Rushern Baker and Governor Martin O'Malley.[29]


Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Cardin is a "moderate Democratic leader" August 13, 2013.[30]

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Cardin missed 6 of 1,935 roll call votes from Jan 2007 to Apr 2013, which is 0.3% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.[31]

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.[32]

Cardin most often votes with:

Cardin least often votes with:

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.[33]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Cardin's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $1,416,074 and $3,998,000. This averages to $2,707,037, which is a 22.16% decrease since 2010. This is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2011 of $20,795,450.[34]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Cardin's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $1,900,080 and $5,055,000. That averages to $3,477,540, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2010 of $19,383,524.[35]

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.


According to the data released in 2013, Cardin was ranked the 10th most liberal senator during 2012.[36]


According to the data released in 2012, Ben Cardin was ranked the tenth most liberal senator during 2011.[37]

Voting with party

March 2012

Ben Cardin voted with the Democratic Party 96% of the time, which ranked 5 among the 51 Senate Democratic members as of March 2012.[38]


Cardin has been married to his wife Myrna (nee Edelman) since 1964. They have a daughter and two grandchildren.[39]

Recent news

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

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External links


  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
  3. 3.0 3.1 Maryland State Board of Elections "Primary Election Results 2012" Accessed April 3, 2012
  4. Politico "2012 Election Map, Maryland"
  5. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
  6. U.S. Senate Official Website "Committee Assignments," Accessed October 29, 2011
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  8. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1, "President Gathers Congressional Support For Syria Action; Cardin Raises Questions On Support," accessed September 4, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 Politico, "Senate panel approves Syria measure," accessed September 5, 2013
  11. USA Today, "Senate committee approves Syria attack resolution," accessed September 5, 2013
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named syriacommitteevote
  13. Politico, "How Senate Foreign Relations Committee members voted on Syria," accessed September 5, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Politico, "Ben Cardin: Plan ‘best possible outcome’," accessed September 10, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 Project Votesmart, "Ben Cardin Key Votes," accessed October 17, 2013
  16. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  17. "Senate Judiciary Committee" List of past members
  18. "Congress Bio Guide" Cumulative biography of Senator Cardin
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Senate Judiciary Committee" Sotomayor Hearing Witness Panel List, July 15, 2009
  20. 20.0 20.1 "LA Times" Day 4 Sotomayor Hearing Transcripts, July 16, 2009
  21. 21.0 21.1 "LA Times" Sotomayor Hearings, Day 4-Part 5, July 16, 2009
  22. ABC 2 News "Senator Ben Cardin will announce his re-election campaign this weekend," Accessed January 5, 2012
  23. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  24. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006" Accessed October 29, 2011
  25. Open Secrets "Donor history for Ben Cardin" April 2013
  26. Open Secrets "Ben Cardin 2012 Election Cycle," Accessed February 2013
  27. Open Secrets "Ben Cardin 2006 Election Cycle," Accessed October 29 2011
  28. Hometown Annapolis "Political Notes: Maryland gets C+ on transparency" Accessed March 26, 2012
  29. Washington Post "Muse faces uphill battle in primary against Cardin" Accessed March 29, 2012
  30. GovTrack, "Ben Cardin," Accessed August 13, 2013
  31. GovTrack, "Ben Cardin" Accessed April 2013
  32. [ OpenCongress, "Ben Cardin," Accessed August 8, 2013]
  33. LegiStorm "Ben Cardin"
  34., "Cardin, (D-Maryland), 2011"
  35., "Cardin, (D-Maryland), 2010"
  36. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
  37. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  38. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  39. Official Site "About Ben," Accessed October 29 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Sarbanes
U.S. Senate - Maryland
Succeeded by