|U.S. House, Pennsylvania, District 17|
|January 3, 1993-January 3, 2013|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 2, 2010|
|First elected||November 3, 1992|
|Bachelor's||Bloomsburg University, 1980|
|Date of birth||March 5, 1957|
|Place of birth||Pottsville, PA|
- 1 Career
- 2 Committee assignments
- 3 Issues
- 4 Elections
- 5 Polls
- 6 Campaign donors
- 7 Analysis
- 8 Personal
- 9 External links
- 10 References
Tim Holden (b. March 5, 1957) was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of Pennsylvania. Holden was first elected in 1992 by voters from Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district and served a total of ten terms, the latter five as the representative for the 17th district. Holden most recently ran for re-election in 2012, and was ousted in the Democratic primary. He was succeeded by Matt Cartwright on January 3, 2013.
In 2002, Holden beat the odds by defeating a Republican congressman for the 17th district seat, and was able to fend off GOP challengers for the remainder of his tenure. But in 2012, after redistricting, the 17th district became much more Democratic, meaning that instead of worrying about challengers from the right, Holden was faced with a strong challenge from the left. Moreover, his primary challenger was attorney Matt Cartwright, a wealthy, self-funded candidate and already well-known throughout the district. Holden lost to Cartwright in the April 24 Democratic primary.
- 1980: Graduated from Bloomsburg State University, Bloomsburg, Pa.
- 1985-1993: Served as sheriff of Schuylkill County, Pa.
- 1993-Present: U.S Representative from Pennsylvania
- Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry
- Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry
- Transportation and Infrastructure
- Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
- Subcommittee on Aviation
Since his election to Congress in 1992, Holden missed 3 percent of all roll call votes. The median was 2.4 percent.
A February 2012 analysis by National Journal found that out of the 435 members of the House of Representatives, Holden ranked number 185 in liberal rankings. The ranking means Holden was the 185th most liberal member of the House at that time. 
In 2010, Holden was one of 39 Democrats in the House to vote against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Holden said he voted against the bill because of its cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and because of its taxes on health care benefits. "
Excerpt: "I do believe we need health care reform, but I think we could have done it incrementally, closing the doughnut hole in Medicare, negotiating drug prices to reduce them and eliminating lifetime caps. They intend to use the $500 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts to pay for the subsidies and to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse. You can't do both with it. I spent a lot of time talking to providers. They're losing money on Medicare and Medicaid now. Further reductions are going to affect their ability to provide care for seniors."
Holden bucked the party trend in 2002 by voting to authorize use of U.S. force in Iraq. Later, In 2007, Holden strongly opposed the troop surge. In 2011, however, Holden voted against a resolution requiring the president to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan immediately. When crisis arose in Libya in the spring of 2011, Holden voted against a resolution banning President Obama from using sending armed forces without Congressional approval.
Excerpt: "My commitment to our brave men and women is unwavering. However, I disagree with deploying more than 20,000 more U.S. combat troops in Iraq. The president has consistently said that the size of the force would be determined by military leaders on the ground. Yet the two previous leaders on the ground do not support the addition of more troops. ...Our troops have done their job and performed with great courage and honor. The solution in Iraq can no longer be resolved militarily. We must win both politically and diplomatically."
In 2006, Holden voted against opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration. Then, in 2007, he voted in favor of extending a moratorium on offshore drilling. A year later in 2008 appeared to change his position when he told a local newspaper he wanted to "drill everywhere. I’m for offshore drilling," said Holden at the time. "It needs to be part of a multipronged approach.” In 2011, he broke with party ranks by voting to allow drilling in the outer continental shelf.
Holden 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.
In 2002, Holden beat the odds by defeating a Republican congressman, and has been fending off GOP challengers ever since. But after redistricting, the 17th district became much more Democratic, meaning that instead of fending off a challenger from the right, Holden faced a strong challenge from the left. Moreover, his primary challenger and eventual successor, attorney Matt Cartwright, was already well-known throughout the district and a wealthy self-funder.
In a March 30, 2012 article from The Washington Post, Holden was listed as the 6th most likely incumbent to lose his primary. New territory from the redistricting process allowed Holden to gain a more Democratic district, after losing most of the most heavily Republican leaning areas of the district previously. However, that new territory also drew new intra-party opposition from lawyer Matt Cartwright in the primary.
|U.S. House, Pennsylvania, District 17 Democratic Primary, 2012|
|Tim Holden Incumbent||42.9%||24,953|
"Holden campaign ad"
In March 2012, the Holden campaign purchased an $85,000 television ad buy. The 30-second ad emphasized Holden's record of supporting American troops and protecting seniors.
"Holden negative campaign ad"
Holden also released a another negative ad that attacked Cartwright's wealth.
- Former PA Gov Ed Rendell (D)
- PA Sen. Bob Casey (D)
- Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty
- Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton
- Easton Mayor Sal Panto
- Luzerne County Democratic Committee
Holden was targeted for defeat by the Campaign for Primary Accountability. On April 6, the group launched a $70,000 ad buy with a negative ad tying Holden to Wall Street. A Holden spokesman said the Campaign for Primary Accountability, which spent $200,000 in the race, contributed to Holden's loss to Matt Cartwright in the primary.
"Who Does Congressman Tim Holden Look out for?"
Holden was also targeted by the Blue America PAC. The group bought billboard space to criticize Holden for supporting weakened regulations for hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."
Holden was also targeted by the environmental group, League of Conservation Voters. The group purchased $230,000 worth of ad time against Holden. The 30-second TV ad compared Holden to former President George W. Bush on energy policy. "Congressman Tim Holden voted for Bush's energy plan that gave billions in taxpayer subsidies to big oil companies," said the ad's narrator. "But Congressman Holden voted against President Obama's plan to increase funding for clean energy."
"Say 'No' to Tim Holden"
A Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies internal Cartwright poll, conducted April 2-5, 2012, showed Cartwright with a single-digit lead over incumbent Rep. Holden.
|Pennsylvania's Congressional District 17, 2012|
|Poll||Tim Holden (D)||Matt Cartwright (D)||Margin of Error||Sample Size|
(April 2-5, 2012)
|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|
Throughout his 20 year career in the House, Holden raised more than $500,000 each from Building Trade Unions, Industrial Unions, and Transportation Unions.
As of 2012, Holden's top three contributors were the PMA Group, which gave $102,075; Carpenters & Joiners Union, which gave $97,950; and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which contributed $94,325.
Holden won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Holden's campaign committee raised a total of $1,363,850 and spent $1,864,924.
His top 5 contributors between 2009-2010 were:
|U.S. House of Representatives, Pennsylvania Congressional District Election, 2010 - Tim Holden Campaign Contributions|
|Total Raised by General Election Opponent||$374,726|
|Total Spent by General Election Opponent||$374,726|
|Top contributors to Tim Holden's campaign committee|
|Blue Cross/Blue Shield||$20,875|
|Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers||$10,500|
|Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee|
|Public Sector Unions||$63,450|
|Building Trade Unions||$54,350|
Congressional staff salaries
The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Holden paid his congressional staff a total of $970,964 in 2011. Overall, Pennsylvania ranked 34th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.
Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org - The Center for Responsive Politics, Holden's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $290,020 to $804,000. That averages to $547,010 which was lower than the average net worth of Democratic Representatives in 2010 of $4,465,875.
Percentage voting with party
Tim Holden voted with the Democratic Party 71.1% of the time, which ranked 184 among the 192 House Democratic members as of December 2011.
Tim Holden is married to Gwen.
- Political profiles:
- Financial (federal level):
- Interest group ratings:
- Issue positions:
- Public statements:
- Voting record:
- Media appearances:
- Media coverage:
- Roll Call "Redistricting Makes Blue Dog Holden an Underdog" Accessed April 22, 2012
- Gov Track "Holden" Accessed May 25, 2012
- govtrack.us "Rep. Tim Holden" Accessed April 7, 2012
- National Journal "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House" Accessed March 25, 2012
- Pennlive.com "After voting against health care reform, U.S. Rep. Tim Holden says legislation needs work" Accessed March 25, 2012
- readingeagle.com "Rep. Tim Holden says cuts in Medicare and Medicaid convinced him to vote no" Accessed March 25, 2012
- On the Issues "War and Peace" Accessed March 25, 2012
- Youtube "Iraq Troop Surge Debate : Tim Holden - Anti Surge" Accessed March 25, 2012
- Politico "Dems yielding to pressure on drilling" Accessed March 25, 2012
- U.S. House "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
- Pennsylvania Department of State "2012 General Primary Unofficial Returns," April 24, 2012
- Roll Call "Redistricting Makes Blue Dog Holden an Underdog" Accessed April 22, 2012
- The Washingotn Post "The next Jean Schmidt? The top 10 House incumbents who could lose their primaries" Accessed April 1, 2012
- Pennsylvania Dept of State "2012 Official Primary Results"
- The Morning Call "Ad wars begin for Rep. Holden and his primary foe" Accessed March 25, 2012
- PoliticsPA "Holden Ad Blasts Cartwright Over ‘Kids for Cash’ " Accessed April 6, 2012
- PoliticsPA "New Holden Ad Dings Cartwright’s Wealth " Accessed April 7, 2012
- PoliticsPA "Rendell Backs Holden" Accessed April 22, 2012
- citizensvoice.com "Holden piles up endorsements in 17th congressional district race" Accessed April 22, 2012
- PoliticsPA "Luzerne Dems Back Holden, Vinsko" Accessed March 25, 2012
- PoliticsPA "Super PAC Launches Anti-Holden Ad" Accessed April 7, 2012
- Wall Street Journal blog "Anti-Incumbent Super PAC Claims a Win in Pennsylvania," April 25, 2012
- The Borys Blog Accessed April 7, 2012
- Lehigh Morning Call "League of Conservation Voters targets Congressman Tim Holden" Accessed April 21, 2012
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2000," accessed March 28, 2013
- PoliticsPA "Cartwright Poll: Cartwright Leads Holden 42-36" Accessed April 9, 2012
- opensecrets.org "Top Industries" Accessed April 7, 2012
- opensecrets.org Accessed April 21, 2012
- Open Secrets "Tim Holden 2010 Election Cycle," Accessed November 16, 2011
- LegiStorm, "Tim Holden," Accessed September 24, 2012
- OpenSecrets.org, "Tim Holden (D-Pa), 2010," Accessed September 24, 2012
- OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
|U.S. House of Representatives - Pennsylvania District 6
| Succeeded by|
|U.S. House of Representatives - Pennsylvania District 17
| Succeeded by|
State of Pennsylvania
|State executive offices||
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