Mark Udall

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Mark Udall
MarkUdall-Senate Portrait.jpg
United States Senator
from Colorado
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Serving with Michael Bennet
Preceded by Wayne Allard
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by David Skaggs
Succeeded by Jared Polis
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 13th district
In office
Preceded by Peggy Lamm
Succeeded by Tom Plant[1]
Personal details
Born Mark Emery Udall
(1950-07-18) July 18, 1950 (age 64)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Maggie L. Fox
Residence Eldorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.
Alma mater Williams College (B. A.)
Occupation Outward Bound instructor
Religion Raised Presbyterian;[2]
currently unspecified

Mark Emery Udall (born July 18, 1950) is the senior United States Senator from Colorado and a member of the Democratic Party. From 1999 to 2009, Udall served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Colorado's 2nd congressional district. He also previously served in the Colorado House of Representatives. Born in Tucson, Arizona, he is the son of former U. S. Representative Morris K. Udall and a member of the Udall family.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Mark Udall was born in Tucson, Arizona to Patricia J. (née Emery) and the late Morris K. Udall, a former congressman from Arizona and candidate for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination. He is a first cousin of Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico; a second cousin of Utah Senator Mike Lee;[3] and a double second cousin of former Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon. He is a nephew of former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall.[4]

Mark Udall graduated in 1968 from Canyon del Oro High School. He later graduated from Williams College in 1972 and moved to Colorado. He was a field coordinator for Morris Udall’s presidential campaign. He worked at the Colorado Outward Bound School for 20 years, including ten years as the school's executive director. In 1972, Udall was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession. He served a night in jail and paid a $300 fine.[5] In 1996, Mark Udall was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives, vacated by incumbent Peggy Lamm.[6]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Congressman Udall


After only one term in the Colorado House of Representatives, in 1998 Udall won the Democratic nomination for Colorado's 2nd congressional district, after 12-year incumbent David Skaggs retired. The race was unexpectedly close, with Udall narrowly defeating Republican Boulder, Colorado Mayor, Bob Greenlee, winning 50%-48%. He won re-election four times without significant competition.[citation needed]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus membership
  • Congressional Fitness Caucus (Co-chair)
  • Democratic Freshman Class (Vice President)
  • Democratic Homeland Security Task Force
  • Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus (Co-chair)[8][9]

U.S. Senate[edit]



On January 15, 2007, incumbent Senator Wayne Allard announced he would not run for a third term. Udall became the Democratic nominee for the race after running unopposed in the primary.[10] In the general election, Udall faced former U.S. Representative Republican Bob Schaffer in what was considered one of the most competitive races in the country.

By August 28, 2008, over $10 million had been spent on attack ads against Udall by political parties and political action committees, an amount higher than in any other U.S. Senate race.[11] Udall and Schaffer appeared on Meet the Press's Senate Debate series on September 28, discussing the proposed bailout of the U.S. financial system.[12]

On election day, Udall defeated Schaffer, winning 53% of the vote.[13]

Mark Udall campaigning in Denver in June, 2008.

Udall's first cousin, U.S. Representative Tom Udall, ran for and won the U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico left open by the retirement of Pete Domenici. Including their double second cousin, Senator Gordon Smith; there were three Udalls running in Senate elections in 2008. Smith in Oregon was narrowly defeated in his bid for a third term.[14][15]


Udall is running for re-election to the U.S. Senate in the 2014 election. Udall will face Republican U.S. Representative Cory Gardner in the general election.

In February 2014, Udall's campaign received a lien from the state of Colorado for failure to pay unemployment insurance.[16]

In July 2014, President Obama headlined a fundraiser for Udall's campaign.[17]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships
  • Congressional Fitness Caucus
  • International Conservation Caucus
  • Parkinson’s Disease Caucus (Co-chair)
  • Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • Sportsmen's Caucus

Political positions[edit]


Udall has repeatedly voted against the Keystone XL pipeline, having said that he wants to wait until a technical review of the project by the State Department is complete.[18]

In July 2014, he came out against two ballot measures that seek to limit hydraulic fracturing, saying that Colorado must find "the right balance between protecting our clean air and water, the health of our communities, and safely developing our abundant energy resources."[19]


On February 13, 2009, Udall voted to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (commonly referred to as The Stimulus or The Recovery Act).[20]

In December 2010, Udall was one of seven Democrats to vote against a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years as well as fund unemployment benefits for an additional 13 months, having stated, "Days after the most substantive national conversation we've had about addressing the debt, the debate suddenly has turned to extending tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires that — alone — will cost $700 billion over the next decade."[21]

Gun rights[edit]

On April 17, 2013, Udall voted to expand background checks for gun purchases. The amendment did not pass.[22][23]


In 2009, Udall sponsored a bill to address problems caused by the pine beetle infestation in Colorado's forests.[24]

Affordable Care Act[edit]

In December 2009, Udall voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[25][26]

In November 2013, Udall was critical of the Colorado Division of Insurance concerning the Division's estimates of the number of Colorado residents whose medical insurance was cancelled in response to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.[27][28] Udall's office wanted the Division to lower the number from 250,000 because it believed the majority of individuals counted had received renewal options. The Division refused to change the numbers. Administrators at the Colorado Division of Insurance said they felt pressured by members of Udall's staff to change their estimates of policy cancellations.[29]

A panel which investigated the matter concluded Udall's office behaved appropriately. The investigation was criticized because the chair was appointed by Democratic governor John Hickenlooper; all other members of the panel were selected by the chair. The chair initially refused to name the other members of the panel, and no written records were created during its investigation.[28]


Udall has supported PRISM, a clandestine anti-terrorism mass electronic surveillance data mining program launched in 2007 by the National Security Agency (NSA); however, he has also expressed support for introduction of measures to reform and limit the scope of the Patriot Act; 'The Patriot Act should be reformed so Americans’ phone records do not get indiscriminately swept up in a federal government database.'[30]

In July 2014, Udall voted against the CISPA bill, a proposed law which would allow for the sharing of Internet traffic information between the U.S. government and technology and manufacturing companies.[31]


He voted for the Employee Free Choice Act in 2007, which would have eliminated the secret ballot in voting to unionize businesses.[32]


In February 2014, Udall voted for the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, a $1 trillion bill that ended direct payments to farmers but expanded crop insurance 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, and cut food stamp subsidies for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[33][34]

Personal life[edit]

Udall currently lives in Eldorado Springs with his wife, a prominent environmental attorney,[35] and two children. Udall is a mountaineer, and has climbed or attempted many peaks, including Mount Everest.[36][37]

Udall's 61-year-old brother, Randy Udall, went missing on June 26, 2013 after going on a solo hike in Wyoming's Wind River Range.[38] On July 3, 2013 a body, later identified as that of Randy Udall, was found approximately 80 miles southeast of Grand Teton National Park.[39]

Electoral history[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ pdf
  2. ^ Bartels, Lynn. "Pasts cross for Udall, Mitt", The Rocky Mountain News, December 26, 2007.
  3. ^ Lee Davidson (October 24, 2010). "Senate race: Mike Lee ready to ride Senate roller coaster". The Salt Lake Tribune. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Meet the Udalls: Another Political Dynasty on The Ballot". NBC. 2014-07-22. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Michael Riley (September 11, 2008). "Ad blows smoke a variety of ways". The Denver Post. 
  6. ^[dead link]
  7. ^ "Committee Assignments". 27 January 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Project Vote Smart - Senator Mark E. Udall profile,; accessed July 30, 2014.
  9. ^ US House of Representatives Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus,; accessed July 30, 2014.[dead link]
  10. ^ Hook, Carol (11-4-08). "Fact Sheet: Mark Udall Vs. Bob Schaffer for Colorado's U.S. Senate Seat". US News. Retrieved 11 August 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ Riley, Michael (September 24, 2008). "Attack ads fail to shift Udall's lead". Denver Post. 
  12. ^ "Senate candidates debate the bailout",, Meet the Press, September 28, 2008 (video)
  13. ^ Electoral Scoreboard, Daily Kos; accessed July 30, 2014.
  14. ^ "Local and National Election Results - Election Center 2008". CNN. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  15. ^ Bartels, Lynn (2014-06-12). "President Obama coming to Denver for Sen. Mark Udall". Denver Post. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Bartels, Lynn (March 20, 2014). "Sen. Mark Udall: A lien, an endorsement, and an emoji". Denver Post. 
  17. ^ Matthews, Mark (7-6-14). "Obama fundraiser for Udall to attract cash, criticism". Denver Post. Retrieved 13 October 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  18. ^ Lynn Bartels (June 12, 2014). "Mark Udall's position on Keystone back in limelight". Denver Post. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  19. ^ "". CBS Denver. September 6, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Stimulus package nears OK in Senate". Denver Post. February 10, 2009. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Mark Udall Votes 'No' On Tax Deal". Huffington Post. December 13, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  22. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress – 1st Session". Legislation & Records. United States Senate. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  23. ^ Chuck Todd (April 18, 2013). "Why the gun measure went down to defeat". NBC News. 
  24. ^ "Sen. Udall sponsors bill to attack pine beetles". Seattle Times. 2009-11-23. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  25. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress – 1st Session". Legislation & Records. United States Senate. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  26. ^ Lynn Bartels (July 7, 2013). "GOP challengers for Sen. Mark Udall's seat face big challenges". Denver Post. 
  27. ^ "Colorado regulators fail to provide info on panel in Sen. Udall ACA flap",; accessed July 30, 2014.
  28. ^ a b "DORA official reverses course, names panelists in Udall ACA flap",; accessed July 30, 2014.
  29. ^ Sherry, Allison; Booth, Michael (January 9, 2014). "Colorado official felt pressure from Udall office on Obamacare tally". The Denver Post. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  30. ^ Sherry, Allison (2013-07-28). "Sen. Mark Udall urges Patriot Act reform on Face the Nation". Denver Post. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  31. ^ Jason Koebler (July 9, 2014). "CISPA's Privacy-Killing Successor Just Cleared Its First Hurdle". Vice. 
  32. ^ Al Eisele (April 11, 2009). "Mark Udall: High Noon in the Senate". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  33. ^ Sherry, Allison (2-5-14). "Farm bill passes, will benefit Colorado farmers, counties". Denver Post. Retrieved 11 August 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  34. ^ Nixon, Ron (2-4-14). "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers". New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  35. ^ Hook, Carol (11-5-08). "10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mark Udall". US News. Retrieved 11 August 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  36. ^ "Congressman Mark Udall biodata at". Archived from the original on January 1, 2009. Retrieved October 3, 2013. 
  37. ^ Sen. Mark Udall Conquered Many Mountains Before Climbing Capitol Hill,; accessed July 30, 2014.
  38. ^ "Sen. Mark Udall's brother, James, missing after hiking in Wyoming". UPI. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Body of Colorado senator's brother found on Wyoming hiking route". USA Today. July 3, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
David E. Skaggs
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Jared Polis
United States Senate
Preceded by
Wayne Allard
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Colorado
January 3, 2009 – present
Served alongside: Ken Salazar, Michael Bennet
Party political offices
Preceded by
Tom Strickland
Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Colorado (Class 2)
2008, 2014
Current holder
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Roger Wicker
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Tom Udall
D-New Mexico