Sheldon Whitehouse

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 18:44, 2 September 2013 by Maresa Strano (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse.jpg
U.S. Senate, Rhode Island
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2019
Years in position 8
PredecessorLincoln Chafee (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 7, 2006
Next generalNovember 2018
Campaign $$11,463,221
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Attorney General, Rhode Island
Bachelor'sYale University, 1978
J.D.University of Virginia School of Law, 1982
Date of birthOctober 20, 1955
Place of birthNew York, NY
Net worth$8,311,113
Office website
Campaign website
Sheldon Whitehouse (b. October 20, 1955, in New York, New York) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Rhode Island. Whitehouse was first elected to the Senate in 2006 and assumed office January 3, 2007. He is currently serving his second consecutive term in the U.S. Senate, having won re-election in 2012.[1][2] He defeated B. Barrett Hinckley, III (R) and various write-in challengers in the general election on November 6, 2012.

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Whitehouse is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills. That said, GovTrack recently labeled Whitehouse as a "far-left Democrat", indicating that Whitehouse is more liberal leaning than his Democratic colleagues with the same "average" rating.[3]

Before becoming a U.S. Senator, Whitehouse served one term as state attorney general for Rhode Island.

Whitehouse's current term expires on January 3, 2019 and he will next come up for re-election in 2018.


Below is an abbreviated outline of Whitehouse's academic, professional and political career:[4]

  • 1978: Graduated from Yale University
  • 1982: Received his J.D. from the University of Virginia
  • 1992-1994: Served as director, Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation
  • 1994-1998: Served as United States attorney
  • 1999-2003: Served as Rhode Island State attorney general
  • 2007-Present: U.S Senator from Rhode Island

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Whitehouse serves on the following committees[5]:


Whitehouse served on the following committees[6]:


Senate Judiciary Committee

Sheldon Whitehouse was first appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly after he was sworn into the Senate in 2007[7].

Senator Whitehouse is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. In addition, Senator Whitehouse serves on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, The Constitution, Immigration, and Refugees and Border Security[8]

2012 Campaign themes

According to Sheldon Whitehouse's website, his campaign themes included:

  • Jobs; "...focused on creating Rhode Island's clean energy jobs of the future, and has introduced a bill to end corporate tax breaks companies receive when they ship jobs overseas."
  • Seniors; "...a co-founder of the Defend Social Security Caucus, he will always fight against attempts to risk Social Security on Wall Street."
  • Siding with Consumers and Homeowners; "...supporting legislation to give homeowners more leverage to renegotiate mortgages and standing up for consumers victimized when credit card companies raise interest rates through the roof."[9]

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Whitehouse 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.[10]



See also: United States Senate elections in Rhode Island, 2012

Whitehouse won re-election in 2012. He defeated B. Barrett Hinckley, III (R) and various write-in challengers in the general election.

U.S. Senate, Rhode Island General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSheldon Whitehouse Incumbent 64.8% 271,034
     Republican B. Barrett Hinckley, III 35% 146,222
     Write-in N/A 0.2% 933
Total Votes 418,189
Source: Rhode Island Board of Elections "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Full history


Democratic Primary for Congress
Poll Sheldon Whitehouse Barry HinckleyNot sureRefusedMargin of ErrorSample Size
"Campaign 2012 Exclusive Poll" February 20-23
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

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Whitehouse is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Whitehouse raised a total of $11,463,221 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 22, 2013.[12]

Sheldon Whitehouse's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 US Senate (Rhode Island) Won $4,883,464
2006 US Senate (Rhode Island) Won $6,579,757
Grand Total Raised $11,463,221
Breakdown of the source of Whitehouse's campaign funds before the 2012 election.


Whitehouse won election to the U.S. Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Whithouse's campaign committee raised a total of $4,883,464 and spent $4,933,336.[13] This is less than the average $10.2 million spent by Senate winners in 2012.[14]

Cost per vote

Whitehouse spent $18.20 per vote received in 2012.


Ideology and leadership

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

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Whitehouse is a "far-left Democrat" as of July 2013.[15]

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.[16]

Whitehouse most often votes with:

Whitehouse 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. Whitehouse paid his congressional staff a total of $2,201,382 in 2011. He ranks 6th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranks 22nd overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Rhode Island ranks 30th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[17]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Whitehouse missed 22 of 1,935 roll call votes between January 2007 and April 2014. This amounts to 1.1%, which is better than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving as of April 2013.[18]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Whitehouse's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $2,948,228 $13,673,998. That averages to $8,311,113.00, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2011 of $20,795,450. His average net worth decreased 6.44% from 2010.[19]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Whitehouse's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $3,475,226 and $14,290,999. That averages to $8,883,112.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2010 of $19,383,524.[20]

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. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.


Whitehouse ranked 20th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[21]


Whitehouse and fellow Democratic Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed both ranked 19th in the liberal rankings in 2011.[22]

Voting with Party


Sheldon Whitehouse voted with the Democratic Party 94.8% of the time, which ranked 31st among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[23]


Sheldon Whitehouse voted with the Democratic Party 98.0% of the time, which ranked 2nd among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of November 2011.[24]


Whitehouse and his wife, Sandra Thornton, have two children, Molly and Alexander.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Sheldon + Whitehouse + Rhode Island + Senate

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

  • Loading...

External links


  1. WRNI Politics Blog "Whitehouse kicks off 2012 reelection campaign money chase," January 31, 2012
  2. Go Local Providence "Senate Battle Heats Up: Hinckley Blasts Whitehouse," Accessed February 18, 2012
  3. Gov Track "Sheldon Whitehouse," Accessed July 5, 2013
  4. Biographical Director of the United States Congress "Sheldon Whitehouse," Accessed November 4, 2011
  5. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
  6. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
  7. "Senate Judiciary Committee" List of past members
  8. "Senate Judiciary Committee" List of Subcommittees
  9. Whitehouse for Senate, "Issues," Accessed August 28, 2012
  10. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  11. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  12. Open Secrets "Career Fundraising for Sheldon Whitehouse," Accessed April 22, 2013
  13. Open Secrets "Sheldon Whitehouse's 2012 Election Cycle," Accessed March 4, 2013
  14. Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," June 19, 2013
  15. Gov Track "Sheldon Whitehouse," Accessed July 5, 2013
  16. OpenCongress, "Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse," accessed August 22, 2013
  17. LegiStorm "Sheldon Whitehouse"
  18. GovTrack, "Sheldon Whitehouse," Accessed April 17, 2013
  19., "Whitehouse, (D-RI), 2011"
  20., "Whitehouse, (D-RI), 2010"
  21. National Journal, "TABLE: Senate Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 21, 2013
  22. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  23. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  24. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Lincoln Chafee
U.S. Senate - Rhode Island
Succeeded by