Maria Cantwell

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Maria Cantwell
Maria Cantwell.jpg
U.S. Senate, Washington
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2019
Years in position 14
PredecessorT. Slade Gorton (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 7, 2000
Next generalNovember 2018
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington
Washington State House of Representatives
Bachelor'sMiami University of Ohio
Date of birthOctober 13, 1958
Place of birthIndianapolis, IN
Net worth$3,771,505.50
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Campaign website
Maria Cantwell (b. October 13, 1958, in Indianapolis, IN) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Washington. Cantwell was first elected to the Senate in 2000 and is currently serving her third term.[1] Cantwell is set to run for re-election in Washington in November of 2018.[2]

Prior to her election to the Senate, Cantwell served as senior vice president of consumer products for RealNetworks from 1995-2000.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no content must have a name

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Cantwell is one of the most reliable Democratic votes, meaning she can be considered a safe vote for the Democratic Party in Congress.


Cantwell was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and earned her bachelor's degree from Miami University of Ohio.[3] After losing her 1994 bid for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, she pursued a career in the high-tech industry before returning to politics again in 2000.[4]


Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Cantwell serves on the following Senate committees:[5]


Key votes

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.[6] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Cantwell's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[7]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "Yes" Cantwell 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.[8]


Farm bill

Yea3.png On February 4, 2014, the Democratic controlled Senate approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[9] It passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that will kick in if or when prices drop; however, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[10] Cantwell joined with 46 other Democratic senators in favor of the bill.

2014 Budget

Yea3.png On January 16, 2014, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[11][12] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[12] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[13] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts. Cantwell voted with the Democratic Party in favor of the bill.[11][12]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" Cantwell 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 suspend 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]

Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act

Voted "Yes" Cantwell voted for Bill S 540, and on February 12, 2014, the Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act passed in the Senate with a vote of 55 - 43.[15] This bill extended the debt limit of the federal government until March 15, 2015 in order to allow the federal government to meet necessary obligations. The House of Representatives had passed the bill on February 11, 2014 with an amendment, and the Senate approved the amendment and passed the bill on February 13, 2014.[16]

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 funded 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.[17] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Cantwell voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[18]


Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "No" Cantwell 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.[19]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "Yes" Cantwell 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.[20]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Cantwell 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 an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[21]


On The Issues Vote Match

Cantwell's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of all Congressional members based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Cantwell is a Moderate Liberal Populist. Cantwell received a score of 56 percent on personal issues and 34 percent on economic issues.[22]

Note: We are working to resolve inaccuracies with this information. Thank you for your patience.

On The Issues organization logo.

Social issues

Washington Redskins

Cantwell joined Rep. Tom Cole and called for the National Football League to back a name change for the Washington Redskins, saying the name is offensive to Native Americans.[23]

In a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodwell, Cantwell, chair of the Indian Affairs Committee, and Rep. Cole, member of the Native American Caucus, wrote, "Saying the Washington football team ‘honored Native Americans’ perpetuates a charade that dishonors Native people and their governments and erodes the reputation of the National Football League...We believe that the fact that this term does not honor — but rather disparages — Indian people and tribes is what will and should guide federal policymakers,” they wrote in the letter, which they plan to send Monday.[23]



See also: United States Senate elections in Washington, 2012

Cantwell won re-election in 2012.[1] Cantwell and Michael Baumgartner advanced past the blanket primary, and Cantwell defeated Baumgartner in the general election on November 6, 2012.[24]

Cantwell had a $4.5 million advantage over her challengers during the 2012 election.[25]

U.S. Senate, Washington, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMaria Cantwell Incumbent 60.5% 1,855,493
     Republican Michael Baumgartner 39.5% 1,213,924
Total Votes 3,069,417
Source: Washington Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Cantwell is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, Cantwell raised a total of $42,432,630 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 25, 2013.[28]

Maria Cantwell's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. Senate (Washington) Won $11,978,158
2006 U.S. Senate (Washington) Won $18,879,272
2000 U.S. Senate (Washington) Won $11,575,200
Grand Total Raised $42,432,630


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

Cantwell won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Cantwell's campaign committee raised a total of $11,978,158 and spent $11,198,862.[29]

Cost per vote

Cantwell spent $6.04 per vote received in 2012.

Out-of-state donations

According to an Open Secrets report, Cantwell ranked among the top ten Senate candidates receiving out-of-state donations during the 2012 election cycle. She received $3,768,144, or 54.9%, of her donations from outside of Washington.[30]


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

Cantwell won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2006. During that re-election cycle, Cantwell's campaign committee raised a total of $18,879,272 and spent $16,712,061.[31]

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have personally benefited from their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics pioneered by the Government Accountability Institute:

PGI: 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
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Cantwell's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $1,423,012 to $6,119,999. That averages to $3,771,505.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic Senate members in 2012 of $13,566,333.90. Cantwell ranked as the 35th most wealthy senator in 2012.[32] Between 2004 and 2012, Cantwell's calculated net worth[33] decreased by an average of 6 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[34]

Maria Cantwell Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:-47%
Average annual growth:-6%[35]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[36]
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.


Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Murray is a "rank-and-file Democrat" as of August 1, 2013.[37]

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.[38]

Cantwell most often votes with:

Cantwell least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Cantwell missed 26 of 3,886 roll call votes from January 2001 to March 2013. This amounts to 0.7%, which is better than the median of 1.7% among current senators as of April 2013.[39]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Cantwell paid her congressional staff a total of $2,507,979 in 2011. She ranked 13th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 42nd overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Washington ranked 25th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[40]

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. Cantwell was 1 of 2 members who ranked 11th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[41]


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. Cantwell ranked 35th in the liberal rankings.[42]

Voting with party


Cantwell voted with the Democratic Party 98.0% of the time, which ranked 4 among the 53 Senate Democratic members as of August 2013.[43]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Maria + Cantwell + Washington + Senate

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

Maria Cantwell News Feed

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See also

External links

Political Tracker has an article on:
Maria Cantwell


  1. 1.0 1.1 The New York Times, "Cantwell Declared Washington Victor," accessed August 1, 2013
  2. Votesmart, “Sen. Maria Cantwell,” accessed August 1, 2013
  3. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Maria Cantwell," accessed October 14, 2011
  4., "Maria Cantwell," accessed October 14, 2011
  5. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
  6. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  8. Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  9., "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
  10. NY Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
  13. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  14. Project Vote Smart, "HR 325 - To Ensure the Complete and Timely Payment of the Obligations of the United States Government Until May 19, 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  15. Project Vote Smart, "Maria Cantwell's Voting Records," accessed February 15, 2014
  16. GovTrack, "Text of S. 540: Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act," accessed February 15, 2014
  17. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  18., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  19. Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  20. Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  21. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  22. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ontheissues
  23. 23.0 23.1 Politico, "Lawmakers: 'Redskins' is insulting," accessed February 10, 2014
  24. Associated Press, "Primary Results"
  25. Seattle Times, "Senate race Cantwell's to lose — unless Obama support craters," July 10, 2012
  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 7, 2000," accessed March 28, 2013
  28. Open Secrets, "Donor history for Cantwell," accessed April 25, 2013
  29. Open Secrets, "Baldwin 2012 Election Cycle," accessed July 5, 2013
  30. OpenSecrets, "More than 60 Lawmakers Relied Mostly on Out-of-State Money," May 7, 2013
  31. Open Secrets, "Maria Cantwell 2006 Election Cycle," accessed November 26, 2011
  32. OpenSecrets, "Cantwell, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
  33. This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
  34. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  35. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  36. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  37. GovTrack, "Patty Murray," accessed August 1, 2013
  38. OpenCongress, "Rep. Maria Cantwell," accessed August 2, 2013
  39. GovTrack, "Maria Cantwell," accessed April 11, 2013
  40. LegiStorm, "Maria Cantwell"
  41. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
  42. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," accessed February 23, 2012
  43. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Slade Gorton
U.S. Senate - Washington
Succeeded by