Election 2012: Crimson in Congress

A roundup of alumni winners

Elizabeth Warren

Of the three presidential candidates with Harvard affiliations—Barack Obama, J.D. ’91; Mitt Romney, J.D.-M.B.A. ’74; and Jill Stein ’72, M.D. ’79—the incumbent kept his seat. But on Capitol Hill, a larger and slightly more balanced Crimson contingent will enter the 113th Congress.

That body will contain 42 alumni (defined as graduates of or matriculants in a degree program at the University), eight more than the 34 who took their seats for the 112th. (Two Democrats subsequently left the House: Jane Harman, J.D. ’69, to lead the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; David Wu, M ’81, in a sex scandal.) Those 42 members are joined by Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren, RI ’02, Democrat of Massachusetts, who becomes the second woman in the Harvard contingent, for a total of 43. (Updated November 17, 2012: Arizona Republican Martha McSally, M.P.P. ’90, has conceded the race for the House seat formerly held by Democrat Gabrielle Giffords. That leaves the tally of Harvard alumni in the 113th Congress at 42.) 

In the Senate, the arrival of a second Democrat, Tim Kaine, J.D. ’83, of Virginia, and Ted Cruz, J.D. ’95, Republican of Texas, in addition to Warren results in a net Crimson gain of one as Democrats Jeff Bingaman ’65, of New Mexico, and Herbert H. Kohl, M.B.A. ’58, of Wisconsin, retire.

In the House, Republicans Thomas Petri ’62, LL.B. ’65, of Wisconsin, and Michael R. Pompeo, J.D. ’94, of Kansas, retained their seats and gained two new alumni colleagues: Tom Cotton ’99, J.D. ’02, of Arkansas, and Ron DeSantis, J.D. ’05, of Florida.   

On the Democratic side of the aisle, John Barrow, J.D. ’79, of Georgia, identified by The Washington Post as “the only remaining white Democrat in the House from the Deep South,” won reelection, as did his 16 fellow Democratic incumbents. Three alumni elected in 2008—Bill Foster, Ph.D. ’83, of Illinois; Alan M. Grayson ’78, M.P.P.-J.D. ’83, G ’87, of Florida; and Dan Maffei, M.P.P. ’95, of New York—who lost their seats in the 2010 Republican surge, were victorious this time around. They were joined by six new Harvard representatives: Joaquin Castro, J.D. ’00, of Texas; Elizabeth Esty ’80 of Connecticut; Joseph P. Kennedy III, J.D. ’09, who won the Massachusetts seat held by Barney Frank ’61, G ’62-’68, J.D. ’77, who is retiring; Raul Ruiz, M.D.-M.P.P. ’01, M.P.H. ’07, of California, who won a close race against Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack; Mark Takano ’83, of California, who becomes the first openly LGBT person of color elected to Congress; and Juan C. Vargas, J.D. ’91, also of California.

The line-up currently (asterisks mark newcomers):

SENATE REPUBLICANS: Michael D. Crapo, J.D. ’77 (Id.); *Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, J.D. ’95 (Tex.); Pat Toomey ’84 (Pa.); David Vitter ’83 (La.)

SENATE DEMOCRATS: Richard Blumenthal ’67 (Conn.); Al Franken ’73 (Minn.); *Timothy M. Kaine, J.D. ’83 (Va.); Carl Levin, LL.B. ’59 (Mich.); John F. (Jack) Reed, M.P.P. ’73, J.D. ’82 (R.I.); John D. Rockefeller IV ’58 (W.Va.); Charles E. Schumer ’71, J.D. ’74 (N.Y.); Mark R. Warner, J.D. ’80 (Va.); *Elizabeth Warren, RI ’02 (Mass.)

HOUSE REPUBLICANS: *Tom Cotton ’99, J.D. ’02 (Ark.); *Ron DeSantis, J.D. ’05 (Fla.); Thomas E. Petri ’62, LL.B. ’65 (Wisc.); and Michael R. Pompeo, J.D. ’94 (Kans.) 

HOUSE DEMOCRATS: John Barrow, J.D. ’79 (Ga.); *Joaquin Castro, J.D. ’00 (Tex.); Gerry Connolly, M.P.A. ’79 (Va.); James H. Cooper, J.D. ’80 (Tenn.); *Elizabeth Esty ’80 (Conn.); *Bill Foster, Ph.D. ’83 (Ill.); John Garamendi, M.B.A. ’70 (Calif.); *Alan M. Grayson ’78, M.P.P.-J.D. ’83, G ’87 (Fla.); Brian Higgins, M.P.A. ’96 (N.Y.); Jim Himes ’88 (Conn.); *Joseph P. Kennedy III, J.D. ’09 (Mass); Ron Kind ’85 (Wisc.); James R. Langevin, M.P.A. ’94 (R.I.); Sander M. Levin, LL.B. ’57 (Mich.); Stephen F. Lynch, M.P.A. ’99 (Mass.); *Dan Maffei, M.P.P. ’95 (N.Y.); James D. Matheson ’82 (Utah); *Raul Ruiz, M.D.-M.P.P. ’01, M.P.H. ’07 (Calif); John P. Sarbanes, J.D. ’88 (Md.); Adam B. Schiff, J.D. ’85 (Calif.); Robert C. Scott ’69 (Va.); Terri Sewell, J.D. ’92 (Ala.); Bradley J. Sherman, J.D. ’79 (Calif.); *Mark Takano ’83 (Calif.); Christopher Van Hollen Jr., M.P.P. ’85 (Md.); and *Juan C. Vargas, J.D. ’91 (Calif.)


Updated on November 10, 2012

For more on Harvard affiliates in the 113th Congress, read the election coverage in the Harvard Gazette.

You might also like

Steven Pinker on Apple’s Vision Pro

Professor of psychology on the science and history behind the Vision Pro.

The State of Black America

Harvard African American scholars take stock of a difficult moment. 

Threats Foreign and Domestic

Joseph Nye discusses geopolitics and Harvard’s challenges.

Most popular

News Briefs: Important University Updates

A large leap in the smallest science, decarbonization debates, admissions lawsuit

Trade Cards in the Age of Invention

A nineteenth-century advertising medium traces the rise of consumer culture.

Sailing Solo

James Hammitt ’78, is a professor at the School of Public Health—and a superb sailor.

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults