Difference between revisions of "Joe Donnelly"

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Joe Donnelly
Joe Donnelly, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
U.S. Senate, Indiana
In office
January 3, 2013 - Present
Term ends
January 3, 2019
Years in position 2
PredecessorRichard Lugar (R)
President of the School Board for Mishawaka Marian High School, Indiana
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 2018
Campaign $$11,541,943
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives, Indiana
School Board for Mishawaka Marian High School, Indiana
Indiana State Election Board
Bachelor'sNotre Dame
J.D.Notre Dame
Date of birthSeptember 29, 1955
Place of birthQueens, New York
Net worth$561,505
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Campaign website
Joe Donnelly campaign logo
Joseph Simon "Joe" Donnelly, Sr. (b. September 29, 1955 in Queens, New York) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Indiana. Donnelly was first elected to the Senate in 2012.

He previously was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Indiana's 2nd congressional district from 2007-2013.

Donnelly won election to the U.S. Senate from Indiana on November 6, 2012.[1]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Donnelly is a more moderate left of center Democratic Party vote. As a result, he may break with the Democratic Party line more than his fellow members.


Donnelly was born in Queens, New York. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Government in 1977. Donnelly also graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1981.[2]


Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Donnelly serves on the following committees[4]:

  • Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee
    • Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security
    • Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation
    • Subcommittee on Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management
  • Armed Services
    • Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
    • Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
    • Subcommittee on Airland
  • Aging

U.S. House of Representatives


Donnelly served on the following committees:[5]

  • Financial Services Committee
    • Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises
    • Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade
  • Veterans' Affairs Committee
    • Subcommittee on Health
    • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member


Gay Marriage

During his campaign Joe Donnelly opposed gay marriage.[6] He switched his position on the issue on April 5, 2013, endorsing gay marriage.[7]

In a posting on the social media outlet Facebook on April 5, he stated "I voted to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and was an original supporter of the bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their sexual orientation. It is also for that reason that I oppose amending either Indiana’s or our nation’s constitution to enshrine in those documents an ‘us’ and a ‘them,’ instead of a ‘we.’ With the recent Supreme Court arguments and accompanying public discussion of same-sex marriage, I have been thinking about my past positions and votes. In doing so, I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all.”[7]


A Washington Post investigation in February 2012 revealed that 33 members of Congress helped direct more than $300 million in earmarks to public projects in close proximity to commercial and residential real estate owned by the lawmakers or their family members.[8] According to the report, Donnelly sponsored a $935,000 earmark to dredge Michigan City Harbor in the northwest corner of his Indiana district. The harbor is about two miles down the beach from a home Donnelly owns along the shore of Lake Michigan.[9]

Specific votes

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Donnelly 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. He was one of 172 Democrats that voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257/167 vote on January 1, 2013.[10]

Specific votes

Donnelly voted for TARP.[11] According to a Gallup poll from September 13, 2010, 61% of Americans disapprove of TARP, while 37% approve.[12]

Donnelly also supported the auto bailout.[13] As of September 13, 2010: 56% of Americans disapproved of the auto bailout, while 43% supported it.[14]

In addition, Donnelly voted for the stimulus bill.[15] 57% of U.S. voters believe that the stimulus has either hurt the economy (36%) or had no impact (21%). 38% believe the stimulus helped the economy.[16]

Donnelly also voted in favor of the "Cash for Clunkers" bill.[17] According to a June 2009 Rasmussen Reports poll, 54% of likely U.S. voters opposed Cash for Clunkers, while 35% supported it.[18]

Finally, Donnelly voted in favor of the health care reform bill.[19] 57% of likely voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care reform bill, including 46% who strongly favor repeal. 35% of likely voters oppose repeal. 51% of likely voters believe the health care reform bill will be bad for the country, while 36% believe it will be beneficial.[20]



See also: United States Senate elections in Indiana, 2012

Donnelly won the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Indiana. Donnelly sought the nomination on the Democratic ticket.[21] The signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run was February 24, 2012. The primary elections took place on May 8, 2012.

The two candidates ran a close race, despite the fact that Indiana is seen as a Republican-leaning state. After the conservative Mourdock replaced the moderate Lugar as the republican candidate, Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly was thought to have a good chance at wining the seat. Lugar drew support from members of both parties, but Mourdock's tea-party background divided Indiana voters along party lines.[22]

According to the website Daily Kos, this race was one of nine top-ballot 2012 races that contained Libertarian candidates who received more total votes than was the difference between the Democratic winner and the GOP runner-up. In this case, Andy Horning took in over 4,800 more votes than the number that separated Donnelly and Mourdock.[23]

U.S. Senate, Indiana General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Donnelly 50% 1,281,181
     Republican Richard Mourdock 44.3% 1,133,621
     Libertarian Andy Horning 5.7% 145,282
     Independent James Johnson, Jr. 0% 15
     Independent Amy Willis 0% 3
Total Votes 2,560,102
Source: Indiana Secretary of State "United States Senate Election Results"


On November 2, 2010, Donnelly won re-election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Jackie Walorski (R) and Mark Vogel (Libertarian) in the general election.[24]

U.S. House of Representatives, Indiana's 2nd Congressional District, General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Donnelly Incumbent 48.2% 91,341
     Republican Jackie Walorski 46.8% 88,803
     Libertarian Mark Vogel 5% 9,447
Total Votes 189,591



U.S. Senate in Indiana, General election candidates
Poll Richard Mourdock Joe DonnellyOther candidateUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports
July 31-August 1, 2012
Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group
August 9-12, 2012
AVERAGES 42.5% 42.5% 1.5% 13.5% +/-4.5 500.5
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Donnelly is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Donnelly raised a total of $11,541,943 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 3, 2013.[25]

Joe Donnelly's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. Senate (Indiana) Won $5,661,997
2010 U.S. House (Indiana, District 2) Won $1,718,200
2008 U.S. House (Indiana, District 2) Won $1,846,892
2006 U.S. House (Indiana, District 2) Won $1,520,789
2004 U.S. House (Indiana, District 2) Won $794,065
Grand Total Raised $11,541,943


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

Donnelly won election to the U.S. Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Donnelly's campaign committee raised a total of $10,543,456 and spent $10,436,219.[26]


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

Donnelly won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Donnelly's campaign committee raised a total of $1,718,200 and spent $1,983,118.[27]


Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Donnelly was a "centrist Democrat" while serving in the U.S. House.[28]

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Donnelly missed 0 of 92 roll call votes from January 2013 to March 2013. This amounts to 0.00%, which is better than the median of 1.7% among currently serving senators as of March 2013.[29]

Frequency of Voting with Democratic Leadership

According to a July 2010 analysis of 1,357 votes cast from January 1, 2009 to June 16, 2010, Donnelly has voted with the House Democratic leadership 87.8% of the time.[30] That same analysis reported that he also voted with party leadership 91.5% of the time in 2010.

Washington Post Analysis

A separate analysis from The Washington Post, concludes that he votes 88.5% of the time with the majority of rank-and-file Democrats in the House of Representatives.[31]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Donnelly paid his congressional staff a total of $862,183 in 2011. He ranked 17th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic Representative Staff Salaries and he ranked 108th overall of the lowest paid Representative Staff Salaries in 2011. Overall, Indiana ranked 35th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[32]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org - The Center for Responsive Politics, Donnelly's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $91,011 and $1,031,999. That averages to $561,505, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic Senators in 2011 of $20,795,450. His average net worth increased by 222.69% from 2010.[33]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org - The Center for Responsive Politics, Donnelly's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $76,010 and $272,000. That averages to $174,005, which was lower than the average net worth of Democratic Representatives in 2010 of $4,465,875.[34]

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. Information on 2012 vote rating is unavailable.


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of congress voted in the previous year. Donnelly ranked 244th in the liberal rankings.[35]

Voting with party


Joe Donnelly voted with the Democratic Party 80.8% of the time, which ranked 48th among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[36]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Joe + Donnelly + Indiana + House

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

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Donnelly lives in Granger, Indiana with his wife Jill. They have been married since 1979. Together they have two children, Molly and Joseph Jr.[2]

External links


  1. Politico "2012 Election Map, Indiana"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Congressman Joe Donnelly Representing the 2nd District of Indiana "Biography" Accessed November 4, 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 Joe Donnelly for Congress "About Joe" Accessed November 4, 2011
  4. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 18, 2013
  5. Congressman Joe Donnelly, 2nd District of Indiana "Committees & Caucuses"
  6. Huffingtonpost.com "Gay Marriage Rights: The 10 Democratic Senators Who Still Say No" March 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Politico "2 more Democratic senators endorse gay marriage" Accessed April 9, 2013
  8. Washington Post "Congressional earmarks sometimes used to fund projects near lawmakers' properties," February 6, 2012
  9. Washington Post "Mapping the earmarks," February 6, 2012
  10. U.S. House "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  11. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2008/roll681.xml
  12. Gallup "Among Recent Bills, Financial Reform a Lone Plus for Congress," September 13, 2010
  13. US House Clerk "Roll Call 690" December 10, 2008
  14. Gallup "Among Recent Bills, Financial Reform a Lone Plus for Congress," September 13, 2010
  15. US House Clerk "Roll Call 46," January 28, 2009
  16. Rasmussen "38% Say Stimulus Plan Helped Economy, 36% Say It Hurt," August 24, 2010
  17. US House Clerk "Roll Call 314," June 9, 2009
  18. Rasmussen "54% Oppose “Cash for Clunkers” Plan To Spur Purchase of Greener Cars," June 23, 2009
  19. US House Clerk "Roll Call 165," March 21, 2010
  20. Rasmussen "61% Favor Repeal of Health Care Law," September 20, 2010
  21. Los Angeles Times "Democrat Joe Donnelly sets sights on Indiana Senate seat," Accessed January 5, 2012
  22. New York Times "As Senate Race in Indiana Tightens, Candidates Seem to Move to Center" Accessed October 22, 2012
  23. Daily Kos, "Libertarians provided the margin for Democrats and at least nine elections," November 15, 2012
  24. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"
  25. Open Secrets "Joe Donnelly" Accessed April 3, 2013
  26. Open Secrets "Joe Donnelly 2012 Election Cycle," Accessed February 19, 2013
  27. Open Secrets "Joe Donnelly 2010 Election Cycle," Accessed November 4, 2011
  28. Gov Track "Donnelly" Accessed May 21, 2012
  29. GovTrack, "Joe Donnelly," Accessed March 29, 2013
  30. A Line of Sight "2010 House Dem Voting Report"
  31. Washington Post "U.S. Congress Votes Database, 111th Congress"
  32. LegiStorm "Joe Donnelly"
  33. OpenSecrets.org, "Joe Donnelly, (D-Ind), 2011"
  34. OpenSecrets.org, "Donnelly, (D-Indiana), 2010"
  35. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  36. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Lugar
U.S. Senate - Indiana
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Chris Chocola
U.S. House of Representatives - Indiana, District 2
Succeeded by
Jackie Walorski
Preceded by
School Board for Mishawaka Marian High School, Indiana
1997 to 2001
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Indiana State Election Board
Succeeded by