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Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

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Title: Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick  
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Subject: Hansen Clarke, Kwame Kilpatrick, John Dingell, Charles Diggs, United States House of Representatives elections in Michigan, 2006
Collection: 1945 Births, 20Th-Century Methodists, African-American Members of the United States House of Representatives, African-American Methodists, African-American Women in Politics, American Methodists, American Schoolteachers, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Female Members of the United States House of Representatives, Ferris State University Alumni, Living People, Members of the Michigan House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan, Michigan Democrats, People from Detroit, Michigan, People of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Politicians from Detroit, Michigan, University of Michigan Alumni, Western Michigan University Alumni, Women State Legislators in Michigan
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Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 13th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Lynn N. Rivers
Succeeded by Hansen Clarke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 15th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Barbara-Rose Collins
Succeeded by John Dingell
Personal details
Born Carolyn Jean Cheeks
(1945-06-25) June 25, 1945
Detroit, Michigan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bernard Kilpatrick (divorced)
Children Kwame Kilpatrick, Ayanna Kilpatrick
Residence Detroit
Alma mater Ferris State University, Western Michigan University, University of Michigan
Occupation High school teacher
Religion Christian (AME denomination)

Carolyn Jean Cheeks Kilpatrick (born June 25, 1945) is an American politician who was U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district from 1997 to 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party. In August 2010 she lost the Democratic primary election.[1] She was replaced by Hansen Clarke in January 2011.[2]

The 13th district, which is entirely contained within Wayne County, runs along the Detroit River (which is also the Canadian border) from the northern county line to the southern line; it includes Grosse Pointe, half of Detroit, and portions of Downriver. Cheeks is also the mother of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.


  • Early life, education and career 1
  • U.S. House of Representatives 2
    • Committee assignments 2.1
    • Caucus and other membership 2.2
  • Political campaigns 3
    • 2008 3.1
    • 2010 3.2
  • Personal life 4
  • Electoral History 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life, education and career

Born Carolyn Jean Cheeks in Detroit, Michigan, she graduated from the Detroit High School of Commerce. She then attended Ferris State University in Big Rapids from 1968 to 1970 and received a B.S. from Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) in 1972. She earned a M.S. from the University of Michigan in 1977. She worked as a high school teacher and was later a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives from 1979 to 1996.

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Caucus and other membership

She was one of the 31 who voted in the House to not count the electoral votes from Ohio in the United States presidential election, 2004.[3]

On December 6, 2006, the Congressional Black Caucus unanimously chose Kilpatrick as its chairwoman for the 110th Congress (2007-8).

On September 29, 2008, she voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. [1]

Political campaigns

In 1996, Kilpatrick challenged three-term incumbent Barbara-Rose Collins in the 1996 Democratic primary for what was then the 15th District. She defeated Collins by a shocking margin, taking 51.6 percent of the vote to Collins' 30.6 percent. This was tantamount to election in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district. She was reelected six times, never dropping below 80 percent of the vote. Her district was renumbered as the 13th District after the 2000 Census. She faced no major-party opposition in 2004 and was completely unopposed in 2006.


Her first serious opposition came during the 2008 primary—the real contest in this district—when she was challenged by both former State Representative Mary Waters and State Senator Martha Scott in the Democratic primary. Kilpatrick's campaign was plagued by the controversy surrounding her son and his involvement in a text messaging sex scandal. However, on the August 5 primary election, Kilpatrick narrowly won with 39.1 percent of the vote, compared to Waters' 36 percent and Scott's 24 percent.


In 2010, she was again challenged in the Democratic primary. Unlike in 2008, her opposition coalesced around State Senator Hansen Clarke, who defeated her in the August 3 primary. “This is the final curtain: the ending of the Kilpatrick dynasty,” said Detroit political consultant Eric Foster of Foster, McCollum, White and Assoc. [4] NPR and CBS News both noted that throughout her re-election campaign, she was dogged by questions about her son, Kwame Kilpatrick, who is in prison on numerous corruption charges.[5][6] Michigan Live reported that her election defeat could in part be attributed to the Kwame Kilpatrick scandals.[7]

Personal life

Kilpatrick was married to Bernard Nathaniel Kilpatrick, with whom she has daughter Ayanna and son Kwame Kilpatrick, former Mayor of Detroit. She has six grandsons, including two sets of twins. Both her former husband and son were on trial, under an 89-page felony indictment. On March 11, 2013, her son was found guilty on 24 of 30 federal charges and her former spouse was found guilty on 1 of 4 federal charges.[8]

  • She is a member of the Detroit Substance Abuse Advisory Council.
  • She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority

Electoral History

Michigan's 13th congressional district general election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (inc.) 167,481 74.13
Republican Edward J. Gubics 43,098 19.08
Green George L. Corsetti 9,579 4.24
Libertarian Gregory Creswell 5,764 2.55
Total votes 225,922 100.00
Michigan's 13th district Democratic primary, August 3, 2010[9]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Hansen Clarke 22,573 47.32
Democratic Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (incumbent) 19,507 40.89
Democratic Glenn Plummer 2,038 4.27
Democratic John Broad 1,872 3.92
Democratic Vincent Brown 893 1.87
Democratic Stephen Hume 820 1.72
Total votes 47,703 100.00


  1. ^ Kilpatrick Loses Democratic Primary -
  2. ^ Meet Freshmen Reps.-Elect Allen West & Hansen Clarke - CBS News Video
  3. ^
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Kwame Kilpatrick's Woes Tinge Mother's Campaign : NPR
  6. ^ Michigan Election Results Mean End of Kilpatrick Era - Political Hotsheet - CBS News
  7. ^ Kwame Kilpatrick's legal troubles play into Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick's defeat |
  8. ^ Kwame Kilpatrick, four others arraigned -
  9. ^ "13th District Representative in Congress 2 Year Term (1) Position Files In WAYNE County".  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Barbara-Rose Collins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 15th congressional district

Succeeded by
John Dingell
Preceded by
Lynn N. Rivers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
Hansen Clarke
Political offices
Preceded by
Mel Watt
Chairperson of Congressional Black Caucus
Succeeded by
Barbara Lee
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