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 5
PredecessorEdward Kaufman (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First elected2010
Next general November 4, 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)
Date of birthSeptember 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, Connecticut) 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]

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, Delaware. 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. [5]


Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Coons serves on the following Senate committees[6]:


Source: U.S. Senate[7]


Legislative actions

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.[8] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Coons's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[9]

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.[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). Coons was one of the seven Democrats who approved the authorization.[13]

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "Yes" 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.[14]


Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" 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 funds 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.[15] 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.[16]

Pay during government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013#Government Shutdown and Default Prevention Act

Coons announced he would "send the Treasury a check for the salary he is paid during the shutdown."[17]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" 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 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.[14]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Voted "Yes" Coons voted in favor of the 2013 Senate Budget Proposal.[14] 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. Coons was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.[14]

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.


Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "No" 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.[14]

Social Issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "Yes" 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.[14]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" 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 a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[18]



See also: United States Senate elections in Delaware, 2014

Coons ran for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2014.


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.[19]

U.S. Senate, Delaware Special General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngChris A. Coons Incumbent 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

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.[20]

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


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Coons's reports.[21]


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

Coons won election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. During that election cycle, Coons's campaign committee raised a total of $3,852,049 and spent $3,505,975 .[30]


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 June 19, 2013.[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]

Coons most often votes with:

Coons least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Coons missed 2 of 629 roll call votes from November 2010 to March 2013. This amounts to 0.03%, which is better than the median of 1.7% among currently serving senators as of March 2013.[33]

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 ranks fourth on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranks 16th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Delaware ranks 39th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[34]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives

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.[35]

Chris Coons Yearly Net Worth
YearAvg. Net Worth% Difference from previous year

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.


Coons ranked 11th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[36]


Coons ranked 21st in the liberal rankings in 2011.[37]

Voting with party


Coons voted with the Democratic Party 92.9% of the time, which ranked 34th among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[38]


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.[39]

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


  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 Votesmart "Chris Coons" Accessed June 19, 2013
  5. Chris Coons, U.S. Senator for Delaware "Meet Chris Coons" Accessed October 12, 2011
  6. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
  7. Erickson, Nancy, ed (2011). Committee and Subcommittee Assignments for the One Hundred Twelfth Congress. United States Government Printing Office. Accessed October 12, 2011
  8. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  9. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  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 14.3 14.4 14.5 Project Votesmart, "Chris Coons Key Votes," accessed October 16, 2013
  15. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  16., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  17. Washington Post, "Which lawmakers will refuse their pay during the shutdown?," accessed October 2, 2013
  18. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  19. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"
  20. Open Secrets "Chris Coons" Accessed April 3, 2013
  21. Federal Election Commission "Elisabeth Jensen 2014 Summary reports," Accessed November 12, 2013
  22. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly" accessed July 26, 2013
  23. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly" accessed July 26, 2013
  24. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 29, 2013
  25. Federal Election Commission, "Chris Coons Year-End," accessed February 14, 2014
  26. Federal Election Commission, "Chris Coons April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  27. Federal Election Commission, "Chris Coons July Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2014
  28. Federal Election Commission, "Chris Coons Pre-Primary," accessed September 4, 2014
  29. Federal Election Commission, "Chris Coons October Quarterly," accessed October 24, 2014
  30. Open Secrets "Chris Coons 2010 Election Cycle," Accessed November 7, 2011
  31. Gov Track "Chris Coons," Accessed June 19, 2013
  32. OpenCongress, "Rep. Chris Coons," Accessed August 2, 2013
  33. GovTrack, "Chris Coons," Accessed March 29, 2013
  34. LegiStorm "Chris Coons"
  35., "Chris Coons (D-Del), 2012"
  36. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
  37. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," February 23, 2012
  38. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  39. 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