Tom Carper

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Tom Carper
Tom Carper.jpg
U.S. Senate, Delaware
In office
January 3, 2001-present
Term ends
January 3, 2019
Years in position 14
PredecessorWilliam Roth, Jr. (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected2000
Next generalNovember 2018
Campaign $$12,265,257
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Governor of Delaware
U.S. House
Delaware Treasurer
High schoolWhetstone High School
Bachelor'sOhio State University (1968)
Master'sUniversity of Delaware (1975)
Military service
Service/branchU.S. Navy
Years of service1968-1991
Place of birthBeckley, West Virginia
Net worth$4,207,570
Office website
Campaign website
Tom Carper (b. January 23, 1947, in Beckley, WV) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Delaware. Carper was first elected to the Senate in 2000.

Carper won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2012.[1]

He previously served as the Governor of Delaware from 1992 to 2000, as a member of the U.S. House from 1982 to 1992 and as the Treasurer of Delaware from 1976 to 1982.[2]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Carper is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


Carper was born in Beckley, West Virginia. He grew up in Danville, Virginia, and graduated from Whetstone High School in Columbus, Ohio. Carper attended The Ohio State University on a Navy R.O.T.C. scholarship, graduating in 1968 with a B.A. in economics.[2]


Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Carper serves on the following Senate committees:[3]


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.[4] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Carper's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[5]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Yea3.png Carper 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.[6]


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.[7] 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.[8] Carper 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.[9][10] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[10] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[11] 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. Carper voted with the Democratic Party in favor of the bill.[9][10]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Yea3.png 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.[12] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Carper voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[13]

Pay during government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Carper planned to donate pay earned during the shutdown to a Delaware charity.[14]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Yea3.png Carper 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.[6]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Yea3.png Carper voted in favor of the 2013 Senate Budget Proposal.[6] 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. Carper was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.[6]

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

Nay3.png Carper 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.[6]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Yea3.png Carper 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.[6]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Nay3.png Carper voted against 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 three Democrats that voted against the bill. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[15]


On The Issues Vote Match

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

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials 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, Carper is a Centrist. Carper received a score of 44 percent on social issues and 42 percent on economic issues.[16]

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

On The Issues organization logo.

Gay Marriage

Carper opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, has co-signed an amicus brief and urged the Supreme Court to strike down section three of that law.[17]

On April 2, 2013, Carper spoke in favor of gay marriage in a post on his Facebook page. In it he stated, "As our society has changed and evolved, so too has the public's opinion on gay marriage – and so has mine. I pray every day for God to grant me the wisdom to do what is right. Through my prayers and conversations with my family and countless friends and Delawareans, I've been reminded of the power of one of my core values: the Golden Rule. It calls on us to treat others as we want to be treated. That means, to me, that all Americans ultimately should be free to marry the people they love and intend to share their lives with, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that's why today, after a great deal of soul searching, I'm endorsing marriage equality."[18]

Campaign themes


Carper's campaign website listed the following issues:[19]

  • Health Care
Excerpt: "America has some great doctors, nurses and hospitals, but, unfortunately, Americans aren’t getting the most bang for the buck when it comes to our healthcare system."
  • Economy
Excerpt: "Three years ago America experienced one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. Since then we’ve made a lot of progress on the economy, but more has to be done to protect and grow our middle class."
  • Reducing our Debt and Deficit
Excerpt: "In a time of deficits as far as the eye can see, we have to make a fundamental shift from a “culture of spendthrift,” wherein the federal government spends freely without careful thought, to a “culture of thrift,” whereby we use taxpayer money prudently and to the greatest effect."



See also: United States Senate elections in Delaware, 2012

Carper won re-election in 2012. He defeated Keith Robert Spanarelli in the primary.[20] He then defeated Kevin Wade in the general election on November 6, 2012.[21]

U.S. Senate, Delaware General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngThomas Carper Incumbent 66.7% 252,892
     Republican Kevin Wade 28.7% 108,957
     Green Andrew Richard Groff 0.8% 3,036
     Independent Alexander Pires 3.8% 14,462
Total Votes 379,347
Source: Delaware Secretary of State, "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"
U.S. Senate, Delaware Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngTom Carper Incumbent 87.9% 43,587
Keith Robert Spanarelli 12.1% 6,028
Total Votes 49,615

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Carper is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, Carper raised a total of $12,265,257 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 3, 2013.[24]

Tom Carper's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. Senate (Delaware) Won $4,882,503
2006 U.S. Senate (Delaware) Won $4,752,942
2000 U.S. Senate (Delaware) Won $2,629,812
Grand Total Raised $12,265,257


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

Carper won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Carper's campaign committee raised a total of $4,882,503 and spent $5,324,026.[25] This is less than the average $10.2 million spent by Senate winners in 2012.[26]

Cost per vote

Carper spent $21.05 per vote received in 2012.


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

Carper won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2006. During that re-election cycle, Carper's campaign committee raised a total of $4,752,942 and spent $3,491,225.[27]

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 prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics:

PGI: Change in 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, Carper's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $2,099,140 and $6,316,000. That averages to $4,207,570, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2012 of $13,566,333.90. Carper ranked as the 33rd most wealthy senator in 2012.[28] Between 2004 and 2012, Carper's calculated net worth[29] increased by an average of 0 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[30]

Tom Carper Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:3%
Average annual growth:0%[31]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[32]
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, Carper is a "rank-and-file Democrat," as of July 2014. This was the same rating Carper received in June 2013.[33]

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.[34]

Carper most often votes with:

Carper least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

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

According to the website GovTrack, Carper missed 35 of 4,311 roll call votes from January 2001 to July 2014. This amounts to 0.8 percent, which is better than the median of 2 percent among current senators as of July 2014.[35]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Carper paid his congressional staff a total of $2,486,675 in 2011. He ranked 10th on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 39th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Delaware ranked 39th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[36]

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.


Carper ranked 27th in the liberal rankings among U.S. senators in 2013.[37]


Carper ranked 36th in the liberal rankings in 2012.[38]


See also: National Journal vote ratings

Carper ranked 33rd in the liberal rankings in 2011.[39]

Voting with party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.


Carper voted with the Democratic Party 94.4 percent of the time, which ranked 30th among the 53 Senate Democratic members as of July 2014.[40]


Carper voted with the Democratic Party 95.2 percent of the time, which ranked 20th among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[41]


Carper and his wife Martha reside in Wilmington. They have two sons, Chris and Ben. Carper commutes by train to Washington, D.C. on a daily basis.[42]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Tom + Carper + Delaware + Senate

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

Tom Carper News Feed

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See also

External links

Political Tracker has an article on:
Thomas Carper


  1. ABC News, "2012 General Elections Results," November 6, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tom Carper, U.S. Senator for Delaware, "About Tom Carper," accessed October 12, 2011
  3. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
  4. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  5. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Project Vote Smart, "Tom Carper Key Votes," accessed October 16, 2013
  7., "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
  8. NY Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
  11. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  12. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  13., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  14. Washington Post, "Which lawmakers will refuse their pay during the shutdown?," accessed October 2, 2013
  15. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  16. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ontheissues
  17., "Gay Marriage Rights: The 10 Democratic Senators Who Still Say No," March 2013
  18., "Delaware's Sen. Tom Carper Finally Endorses Gay Marriage. Who's Next?," accessed April 2, 2013
  19. Campaign website, "Issues," accessed August 13, 2012
  20. Delaware Elections Division, "Primary Election Results 2012," accessed June 19, 2013
  21. ABC News, "2012 General Elections Results," November 6, 2012
  22. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  23. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2000," accessed March 28, 2013
  24. Open Secrets, "Tom Carper," accessed April 3, 2013
  25. Open Secrets, "Tom Carper 2012 Election Cycle," accessed February 28, 2013
  26. Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," accessed June 19, 2013
  27. Open Secrets, "Tom Carper 2006 Election Cycle," accessed November 7, 2011
  28. OpenSecrets, "Tom Carper (D-Del), 2012," accessed March 4, 2013
  29. 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).
  30. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  31. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  32. 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.
  33. GovTrack, "Tom Carper," accessed July 17, 2014
  34. OpenCongress, "Rep. Tom Carper," accessed July 14, 2014
  35. GovTrack, "Tom Carper," accessed July 17, 2014
  36. LegiStorm, "Tom Carper," accessed August 6, 2012
  37. National Journal, "2013 Senate Vote Ratings," accessed July 17, 2014
  38. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
  39. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," accessed February 23, 2012
  40. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  41. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  42. Tom Carper, U.S. Senator for Delaware, "About Tom Carper," accessed October 12, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
William V. Roth
U.S. Senate-Delaware
Succeeded by