Bill Nelson (Florida)

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Bill Nelson
Bill Nelson.jpg
U.S. Senate, Florida
In office
January 3, 2000-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2013
Years in position 15
Base salary$174,000
Elections and appointments
Last election2006
First elected2000
Next generalNovember 6, 2012
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, Fire Marshall in Florida Cabinet
U.S. House of Representatives
Florida House of Representatives
High schoolMelbourne High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of Florida, Yale University
J.D.University of Virginia
Military service
Service/branchU.S. Army
Years of service1965-1971
Date of birthSeptember 29, 1942
Place of birthMiami
Office website
Campaign website
Clarence William "Bill" Nelson (b. September 29, 1942) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Florida. Nelson was first elected to the Senate in 2000.

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Nelson is a "centrist Democrat".[1]

Nelson is seeking re-election in 2012.[2] Eight other candidates are competing in the August 14, 2012 Republican primary.


Nelson was born in Miami and spent his youth in Melbourne, Florida, where he attended Melbourne High School.

Nelson attended the University of Florida before transferring to Yale University. He subsequently received a law degree from the University of Virginia.[3]In 1965, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve; he served on active duty from 1968 to 1970, attaining the rank of captain, and he remained in the Army until 1971. Nelson was admitted to the Florida bar in 1968, and began practicing law in Melbourne in 1970.[4]

In 1986, Nelson became the second sitting member of U.S. Congress (and the first member of the House) to travel into space. He went through NASA training with Senator Jake Garn of Utah. He was a Payload Specialist on Space Shuttle Columbia's STS-61-C mission from January 12 to 18, 1986.


Committee assignments

U.S. Senate



Political Positions

Percentage voting with the party

Bill Nelson voted with the Democratic Party 91 of the time, which ranked 39 among the 51 Senate Democratic members as of November 2011.[7]



See also: United States Senate elections in Florida, 2012

Nelson is running in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Florida. Nelson is seeking re-election on the Democratic ticket.[8] The signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run is May 7, 2012. The primary elections will be held on August 14, 2012. Bill Fisher Jr., Adam Hasner, George LeMieux, Connie Mack, Mike McCalister, Ron McNeil, Craig Miller, and Marielena Stuart are seeking the Republican nomination.

The University of Virginia's Center for Politics published an article called Sabato's Crystal Ball on March 22, 2012 detailing the 8 races in the Senate in 2012 that will decide the political fate of which party will end up with control in 2013.[9] The Senate seat in Florida is the toss up state ranked second in likelihood of ending up Democratic, behind New Mexico's Senate seat.[9] Incumbent Nelson's mediocre approval rating is the reasoning behind the "toss-up" classification of the Senate seat, but Nelson is expected to gain Democratic support in time for the election.[9] Nelson is expected to face significant opposition from Connie Mack in the general election on November 6, 2012.[9]


On November 7, 2006, Nelson won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Katherine Harris (R), Belinda Noah (I), Brian Moore (I), Floyd Ray Frazier (I), Roy Tanner, Lawrence Scott (I) and Bernard Senter (I) in the general election.[10]

U.S. Senate General Election, Florida, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBill Nelson Incumbent 60.4% 2,890,548
     Republican Katherine Harris 38.2% 1,826,127
     Independent Belinda Noah 0.3% 16,628
     Independent Brian Moore 0.4% 19,695
     Independent Floyd Ray Frazier 0.3% 16,628
     Independent Roy Tanner 0.3% 15,562
     Independent Lawrence Scott 0% 78
     Independent Bernard Senter 0% 16
Total Votes 4,785,282

Campaign donors


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

Nelson won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2006. During that re-election cycle, Nelson's campaign committee raised a total of $18,031,681 and spent $16,718,881.[11]

Recent news

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In 1972, Nelson married Grace Cavert. The couple has two adult children: Bill Nelson, Jr., and Nan Ellen Nelson.[5]

External Links


Political offices
Preceded by
Connie Mack III
U.S. Senate - Florida
Succeeded by