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Biography Joe Donnelly

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Joe Donnelly Joe Donnelly
Joe Donnelly
Junior United States Senator from Indiana and a member of the Democratic Party.


Joe Donnelly Biography

ENG: Joseph Simon "Joe" Donnelly, Sr. (born September 29, 1955) is the junior United States Senator from Indiana and a member of the Democratic Party.

Born in Massapequa, New York, Donnelly graduated from The University of Notre Dame. From 1997 to 2001, he was a member of the Mishawaka Marian School Board, serving as the board's President from 2000 to 2001. In 2004, he ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, losing to Republican Chris Chocola. In 2006, he ran for the same seat, this time defeating incumbent Chocola. Donnelly represented Indiana's 2nd congressional district from 2007 to 2013. In May 2011, Donnelly announced his intentions to run for the U.S. Senate, winning his party's nomination one year later in an uncontested primary. He faced Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who had defeated 36-year incumbent Richard Lugar in the Republican primary. On November 6, 2012 Donnelly defeated Mourdock in the general election, securing 50% of the vote to Mourdock's 44%.


Early life, education, and law career

Donnelly was born and raised in Massapequa, New York. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1977 and earned his law degree from Notre Dame Law School in 1981. He practiced law until 1996, when he opened Marking Solutions, a printing and rubber stamp company.


Early political career

Donnelly held two public positions before deciding to run for U.S. Congress. From 1988 to 1989 he served on the Indiana State Election Board, which was charged with ensuring accurate election results. He served on the Mishawaka Marian School Board from 1997 to 2001, serving as president of the board from 2000 to 2001.

He ran a campaign for Indiana Attorney General in 1988, but lost at the Democratic state convention. He also ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Indiana State Senate in 1990.


2004 congressional campaign

Donnelly ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the second district, where he faced off against incumbent Chris Chocola. Chocola was helped by several fundraising visits from President George W. Bush, and was able to outspend Donnelly by a two to one margin, $1.4 million to $700,000. Donnelly lost the election, 54%–45%. Due to his relatively late entrance into the contest, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) did not offer much support to Donnelly's 2004 campaign. This would change in 2006, when the race was identified by the DCCC as a "Red-to-Blue" contest and extra funds were sent from out of the district in an effort to win back control of the House of Representatives.


United States House of Representatives - Elections - 2006

On May 2, 2006, Donnelly defeated Steve Francis for the Democratic nomination, setting up a rematch against Chris Chocola.

Because Chocola was a strong supporter of George W. Bush, the race was expected to be more competitive than in 2004 in light of Bush's waning popularity. The website Moveon.org identified Donnelly as a top contender to defeat a Republican incumbent in the house, and began running its "Red-Handed" ads against Chocola early in the campaign. Chocola still maintained a significant money advantage over Donnelly, but in 2006, Donnelly had enough to maintain a competitive advertising presence throughout the campaign.

The campaign was heated, with the DCCC sponsoring ads attacking Chocola as being beholden to moneyed interests in the insurance, pharmaceutical, and energy industries. Chocola returned fire by attacking Donnelly over a late tax filing and by attempting to link him to liberal House leader Nancy Pelosi.

On November 7, 2006, Donnelly defeated Chocola by 15,145 votes, or 8% of a substantially larger total of votes relative to 2004. The key difference between the 2006 and 2004 elections for Donnelly lay in the results within St. Joseph County, the location of South Bend and by far the largest county in the district. Traditionally reliably Democratic, voters in the county chose Donnelly over Chocola by only a few hundred votes in the 2004 election. In 2006, however, Donnelly amassed 58% of the county's votes, generating a 14,000-vote margin.

Donnelly was named to the House Financial Services Committee for the 110th Congress.



Donnelly ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. In the general election, he received 67.1% of the vote, winning against Republican nominee Luke Puckett and Libertarian nominee Mark Vogel.



Donnelly ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. In the general election, he was challenged by Republican nominee State Representative Jackie Walorski. Despite a gain of 63 GOP seats in the House in the 2010 midterm, Donnelly was re-elected with 48% of the vote to Walorski's 46%.


United States Senate - 2012 United States Senate election

On May 8, 2012 Donnelly ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. He faced Tea Party favorite, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who defeated 6 term incumbent Richard Lugar in the Republican primary, and Libertarian nominee Andy Horning.

During the election, Donnelly framed Mourdock as "the Wall Street candidate," saying that "the difference between me and Mourdock is, I represent the middle class, while he represents the special interests." Donnelly said he would bring "Hoosier common sense" to the Senate while Mourdock would only "contribute to partisan gridlock".

Donnelly's Senate campaign also focused on closing tax loopholes for corporations, cutting taxes on small businesses, investing in American energy production, and cutting spending to balance the national budget. Donnelly was endorsed by every major newspaper in Indiana, as well as the Louisville Courier Journal, whose readership extends into southern Indiana.

During the campaign Mourdock became embroiled in a controversy after stating that pregnancy from rape is "something that God intended." His remarks were made during a debate on October 23, 2012 while explaining his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape.

On November 6, 2012 Donnelly won the election getting 50% of the vote, compared to Mourdock's 44%, and Horning's 5%.



On January 3, 2013, Donnelly was sworn in the United State Senate in the 113th Congress. Donnelly is first Democrat to hold this seat since Vance Hartke was defeated by Richard Lugar in 1977. Donnelly, a member of the Blue Dog coalition in the House, has said he will continue to align himself with moderates in the Senate, saying that he will be an "independent voice for Indiana families," and that he will continue the “common-sense Hoosier tradition of Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh.”

Donnelly announced that he will serve on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and the Senate Special Committee on Aging.


Personal life

Donnelly and his wife, Jill, have two children. They reside in Granger, Indiana.





January 15, 2013

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