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Christopher Carney


Christopher Carney

Chris Carney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 10th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Don Sherwood
Succeeded by Tom Marino
Personal details
Born (1959-03-02) March 2, 1959 (age 55)
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jennifer Carney
Residence Dimock Township, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Cornell College, University of Nebraska, University of Wyoming
Occupation Commander in the U.S. Navy, College Professor
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Navy
Unit Noble Eagle
Defense Intelligence Agency
The Pentagon (advisor)
Battles/wars Operation Enduring Freedom
Awards Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal (3)
Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
Naval Rifle Marksman Ribbon
Naval Pistol Expert Medal

Christopher P. "Chris" Carney (born March 2, 1959) is an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district from 2007 to 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party and was a prominent member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition.

The district, located in northeastern Pennsylvania, includes Lackawanna and Luzerne counties outside of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre (communities such as Clarks Summit, Kingston, and the Back Mountain towns of Trucksville, Shavertown, and Dallas) as well as all or most of Bradford, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Union, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

Carney is also an associate professor of political science at Penn State Worthington Scranton, where he has taught since 1992. In 2011, he was appointed as director of homeland security and policy strategy for BAE Systems.[1]

Early life, education and career

Carney earned his bachelor's degree from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, received his masters from the University of Wyoming, and completed his Ph.D in political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Carney has been an associate professor of political science at Penn State Worthington Scranton since 1992.

From 2002 to 2004, Carney served as a counterterrorism analyst for the Bush administration, under Douglas Feith in the Office of Special Plans and at the Defense Intelligence Agency, researching links between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.[2]

Military service

A Commander (select) in the United States Naval Reserve, Carney served multiple tours overseas and was activated for operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. He was direct commissioned as an Ensign in 1995. He served as Senior Terrorism and Intelligence Advisor at the Pentagon.

He is the recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Joint Service Achievement Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. His awards also include the Naval Rifle Marksman ribbon and the Naval Pistol Expert Medal.

In September 2007, Congressman Carney went on active duty with the Navy for his two weeks of service as a Lt. Commander in the reserves. On active duty, Carney will be working on the "Predator" project near Norfolk, VA.[3]

In July 2008, Carney was promoted from Lieutenant Commander to Commander (select) in the Naval Reserve. He was one of just two members of the House to serve in the military reserves.[4]

During his unsuccessful 2010 re-election campaign Carney revealed that he had served as an interrogator at Guantanamo.[5][6] Carol Rosenberg, writing in the Miami Herald, wrote that although Carney had traveled with fellow Congressional Representatives on fact-finding trips to Guantanamo, he had never informed them that he himself had served there.

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

In January 2007, Carney was named Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Management, Investigations, and Oversight, a surprising achievement for a freshman Congressman.[9][10]

Political positions

While opposing proposals to privatize Social Security, he said he is open to the idea of adding private accounts in addition to (not at the expense of) traditional defined benefits.[11] [12][12] He supports federal investment in stem cell research,[13] and is an advocate of universal healthcare.[11] He supports gun rights, identifies as pro-life and opposes gay marriage.[14]

Carney made change of direction in Iraq policy a cornerstone of his 2006 campaign, often decrying the Bush Administration's war policies.[15] However, he subsequently voted to continue the war in Iraq, H.R. 2206, and against H.R. 2956, an effort to establish a timeline to withdraw from Iraq.[16] He was one of only ten Democrats to vote against ending the war.[17] He was not a proponent of investigating pre-war intelligence. “The more energy spent on answering Congressional investigations, the less time will be spent on winning the war”, he stated.[18]

On May 3, 2007, Carney voted with 166 Republicans against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, although the Pennsylvania delegation (including 4 Republicans) voted 14-4 in favor. In 2008 he was one of the "Blue Dog" Democrats who joined most Republicans in an unsuccessful to attempt to pass a bill amending FISA to grant telecommunications companies immunity from prosecution for their involvement in warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.

Carney voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008[19] and voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.[20] Congressman Carney also voted for the Affordable Health Care for America Act[21] as well as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[22]

Political campaigns


When Carney entered the race for the 10th, he was initially considered an underdog against Republican incumbent Don Sherwood. The 10th had been in Republican hands since 1961. The four-term incumbent had barely defeated Democrat Patrick Casey in his bid to succeed popular 36-year incumbent Joe McDade in 1998, and narrowly defeated Casey in a 2000 rematch. In hopes of protecting Sherwood, the Republican-controlled state legislature made the 10th significantly more rural and Republican after the 2000 census, and the Democrats hadn't even put up a candidate in the last two elections.

However, revelations of Sherwood's five-year-long extramarital affair with a woman more than 30 years his junior, along with allegations of abuse, severely hampered Sherwood's reelection chances in the 10th, which has a strong social conservative tint. Carney also garnered the endorsement of 30 labor unions.[23] In the election, Carney defeated Sherwood, 53% to 47%.

During the campaign, Carney raised money with a wide-variety of supporters including Sen. Barack Obama, Sen Joe Biden,[24] Rep. Jay Inslee,[25] Rep. Jack Murtha,[26] and Richard Perle, former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee[27] Douglas Feith, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, congratulated Carney on Election Night.[18]


On November 4, 2008, Carney defeated Chris Hackett 56% to 44%.[28]

Carney was one of the few incumbent Democrats to be rated vulnerable in this election cycle, because he was a freshman running in a strongly Republican district (its Cook Partisan Voting Index was R+8). The National Republican Congressional Committee advertised for the Hackett, while the Service Employees International Union and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee—which were among those organizations identifying Carney as especially vulnerable—advertised on his behalf, placing special emphasis on his vote for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $7.25 by 2009, a measure passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by Bush on May 24, 2007.

Since the summer of 2007, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report and a number of other political analysts listed Carney's District as "slightly" leaning Democratic in 2008, and according to the FEC Carney has raised over $500,000 towards his re-election in the first six months of 2007. Public opinion polls conducted in January 2008 indicated a lead over Hackett (then a candidate in the GOP primary), by significant double-digit margins and even a majority of registered Republicans, 53 percent, approve of Carney's job performance. Carney strove to portray himself as a conservative Democrat and asserted, time and time again, that Republican efforts to portray him as a "tax-and-spend" liberal would fail because 10th district residents are familiar with his moderate policies. The candidates differed over Social Security. Carney opposed Bush's plan for privatization, while Hackett supported it.[29]

In the April 22 Pennsylvania primaries, enormous Democratic voter turnout, most certainly due to the presidential race, led Carney to earn over 70,000 votes in the congressional primary, despite running unopposed—more than the combined vote in the Republican primary.

Like all current Democratic members of Congress, Chris Carney was a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In late March, he was reported being somewhat skeptical of Hillary Clinton's electability, citing that her negatives are "widely known", and adding, regarding Barack Obama, that, "what we don't know is whether the other shoe is going to drop for Mr. Obama." He vowed that he would "wait and see how his district votes", hinting that he would likely issue an endorsement after the April 22 Pennsylvania primary for the candidate that wins by a "landslide"—if a huge victory by either occurs—in his overwhelmingly conservative district in which registered Democrats are few compared to Republicans. Another northeastern Pennsylvania Congressman, Paul Kanjorski, had long endorsed and actively campaigned for Clinton, alongside a number of other Democratic politicians in the state, including Governor Ed Rendell, while U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. was Obama's most significant supporter. Prior to 2008, in his 2006 race against Sherwood, Obama had helped Carney raise funds for his campaign. Carney endorsed Clinton on May 9 after she carried his district in the Democratic primary by a whopping 70%-30% margin.


Carney was challenged by Republican nominee Tom Marino. In the 2010 election, Marino defeated Carney, 55-45%.

Personal life

Carney lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their five children in Dimock Township in Susquehanna County.

See also


External links


  • Chris Carney For Congress official campaign site
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Project Vote Smart
  • GovTrack
  • OpenCongress
  • Federal Election Commission
  • On the Issues
  • The Washington Post
  • C-SPAN programs
  • Securing America
  • Band of Brothers
  • VetPac
  • Vote against Violence
  • Carney enters race for Congress Robert L. Baker, Wyoming County Press Examiner, September 14, 2005
  • , September 10, 2005
Preceded by
Don Sherwood
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by
Tom Marino
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