|United States Senator
January 3, 2003
Serving with John Boozman
|Preceded by||Tim Hutchinson|
|53rd Arkansas Attorney General|
January 12, 1999 – January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||Winston Bryant|
|Succeeded by||Mike Beebe|
|Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 57th district
|Succeeded by||Lisa Ferrell|
|Born||Mark Lunsford Pryor
January 10, 1963
|Spouse(s)||Jill Pryor (Divorced)|
|Residence||Little Rock, Arkansas|
|Alma mater||University of Arkansas (B.A., J.D.)|
Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Pryor is the son of former Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator David Hampton Pryor. He received his bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He worked in private practice for several years until being elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1990. He was elected the state Attorney General in 1998. Pryor announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2001, running for the same Senate seat his father had held from 1979 to 1997. He was elected with 54 percent of the vote.
He was re-elected with no Republican opposition in 2008. In January 2009 he briefly became the youngest member of the Senate, the oldest "youngest member" of the Senate ever to serve. During the 112th Congress he served as the chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.
Early life, education, and early political career
Pryor was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to the former Barbara Jean Lunsford and former Governor and U.S. Senator David Hampton Pryor. He attended Little Rock Central High School and Walt Whitman High School in Maryland, graduating in 1981. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and went on to receive his Juris Doctor from the university's law school in 1988. During college, he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
Prior to entering politics, Pryor worked as a private practice attorney. He was a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995. In 1994, he ran for Arkansas Attorney General, challenging incumbent Winston Bryant in the Democratic primary. Pryor lost 58%-42%. In 1998, he ran for the same position again and became the Democratic party nominee. He defeated Republican nominee Betty Dicky, the Redfield City Attorney, 59%-41%. He won all but four counties in the state: Benton, Boone, Marion, and Baxter. He was also delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2000.
In late 2001, Pryor announced his candidacy for the Senate seat held by Tim Hutchinson, who six years earlier had become the first Arkansas Republican to serve in that body since Reconstruction. The seat had been held by David Pryor, who actively campaigned for his son. Hutchinson's popularity was considerably dragged down by the fact that he had divorced his wife of 29 years and married a congressional aide, but Pryor didn't make an issue of it during the campaign. Pryor defeated Hutchinson 54% to 46%. He was the only Democratic candidate for the Senate to defeat a Republican incumbent in that election cycle.
He faced no major-party opposition in 2008, which is unusual for a freshman Senator. There had been speculation that former Governor Mike Huckabee would run against Pryor if his presidential bid were unsuccessful, but on March 8, Huckabee said he wouldn't contest the race. The only Republican to express interest in the race, health care executive Tom Formicola, decided not to run. His only announced opponent was Green candidate Rebekah Kennedy whom he defeated 80% to 20%.
Pryor is running for re-election to a third term. He is being challenged by U.S. Congressman Tom Cotton.
In March 2014, during an MSNBC news segment regarding the Senate race, Pryor said that Cotton gave off a "sense of entitlement" to a seat in the Senate due to his service in the military. Pryor later said he was not attacking Cotton’s military service, but his lack of accomplishments in the House. "But the point remains that he's been in the House now for a little over a year, he hadn't passed any legislation, there's no one thing he's done for Arkansas."
FactCheck.org called two ads aired by Pryor's 2014 Senate campaign misleading in their criticisms of Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, supported by his opponent.
Somewhat atypically, he was, for 19 days in January 2009, the Baby of the Senate, despite not having previously held that distinction during his first term, because of the defeat of the younger John E. Sununu (elected in the same year as Pryor). He was succeeded by Michael Bennet (who himself held it for only five days before the appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand). He also has the distinction of being the oldest Senator (at 45) to become Baby of the Senate.
In June 2007, before the annual Arkansas Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson dinner, Pryor announced his endorsement of his colleague Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), who served as First Lady of Arkansas for 12 years, for the President of the United States. Pryor noted the ability and competence of Clinton as a Senator and former U.S. First Lady.
- Fiscal policy
In June 2006, Pryor voted against repeal of the federal estate tax. In 2013, Pryor and Senator John Boozman (R-AR) were credited by Arkansas Farm Bureau president Randy Veach for their opposition to President Obama's plan to raise the estate tax. Pryor co-sponsored a bill that would implement a one-year extension on current estate tax rates.
On February 13, 2009, Pryor voted to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
- Health care
Pryor voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, but later voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
- Foreign policy
On March 15, 2007, Pryor was one of two Democratic Senators to vote against a resolution aimed at withdrawing most American combat troops from Iraq in 2008. The vote, requiring 60 votes to pass, was 50 to 48 against.
- Social policy
Pryor has expressed opposition to abortion on demand, and voted in favor of the partial birth abortion ban. He has voted in favor of the expansion of embryonic stem cell research. He voted against restricting UN funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion, and barring Health and Human Services grants to organizations that perform abortions.
In 2013, Pryor voted against a measure that would have required background checks for all firearms purchases.
On May 23, 2005, Pryor was one of the 14 senators who forged a compromise on the Democrats' use of the judicial filibuster. This effectively ended any threat of a Democratic filibuster (and thus also avoided the Republican leadership's threatened implementation of the so-called nuclear option.) Under the agreement, the Democrats would exercise the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance." The threat of a filibuster removed, Republicans were able to force cloture on the three most conservative Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William Pryor-no relation), who subsequently passed a vote by the full Republican-controlled Senate. He did, however, vote against the nomination of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court, citing his concerns over Alito's views on the president's powers during wartime.
In April 2014, the United States Senate debated the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 1737; 113th Congress). The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to $10.10 per hour over the course of a two year period. The bill was strongly supported by President Barack Obama and many of the Democratic Senators, but strongly opposed by Republicans in the Senate and House. Pryor opposed the bill. Pryor was up for election in 2014 and was at that time considered "the Senate's most vulnerable incumbent."
Since 2009, Pryor's top three donors have been lawyers ($227,480), lobbyists ($134,254) and retirees ($103,050).
Pryor introduced the Drought Information Act of 2013 (S. 376; 113th Congress) on February 25, 2013. The bill that would authorize funding for the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) through 2018. The NIDIS is "charged with providing timely information to prevent drought and extreme weather damage." The bill passed the United States Senate on February 3, 2014.
Pryor introduced the bill "To repeal section 403 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (S. 1963; 113th Congress)" on January 27, 2014. The bill would repeal the provision of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that makes changes to the cost of living allowance to military veterans. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that enacting S. 1963 would increase direct spending by $6.813 billion.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Chairman)
- Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Defense
- Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Committee on Commerce, Science, Transportation
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Insurance, and Automotive Safety (Chairman)
- Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion
- Subcommittee on Science and Space
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Committee on Rules and Administration
- Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
- Select Committee on Ethics
In 1996, Pryor was diagnosed with clear-cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, in his left leg. His treatment and rehabilitation took 15 months, and he was told by one doctor that he might have to have his leg amputated, but it was discovered early enough and the cancer was successfully removed.
Pryor is Christian. He was featured in the 2008 Bill Maher documentary Religulous, in which he tells Maher that he could believe in Young Earth creationism, yet he also sees evolution as a feasible idea. He states at the beginning of the interview that he is an Evangelical Christian. He also states that he believes in the Rapture, and that "You don't need to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate".
According to author Jeff Sharlet, Pryor is affiliated with a political organization called the Family. Sharlet quoted Pryor as stating that through the Family he "had learned that the separation of church and state was a sort of secular exaggeration" and that "Jesus did not come to bring peace. Jesus came to take over."
|United States Senate election in Arkansas, 2008|
|Democratic||Mark Pryor (incumbent)||804,678||79.53%|
|Invalid or blank votes||75,586||n/a%|
|Arkansas U.S. Senate Election 2002|
|Republican||Tim Hutchinson (Incumbent)||370,653||46.1|
- Famous Central Graduates- Mark Pryor
- Class of '81 - Bethesda Magazine - March-April 2010 - Bethesda, MD
- Our Campaigns - AR Attorney General Race - Nov 03, 1998
- Huckabee says he won't run against Pryor, Nasdaq.com
- Mark Pryor uncontested for second term in U.S. Senate. KTHV Little Rock, 2008-03-10
- Lauer, Claudia (March 6, 2014). "Pryor says Cotton exudes vet ‘entitlement,’ riling GOP". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- Joseph, Cameron (April 26, 2014). "Pryor explains ‘sense of entitlement’ comments". The Hill. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- Robertson, Lori (25 February 2014). "Fact check: Old Medicare claims in Ark. Senate race". USA Today. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- HillaryClinton.com - Media Release
- "Democrats halt move to kill off death tax". Washington Times. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Pryor, Boozman bring common sense to debate over estate taxes
- "Democratic senators take issue with the estate tax". Washington Post. 12-11-2012. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- Davis, Susan (April 16, 2012). "Senate Fails to advance Buffett rule". USA Today. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
- Senate official website. Accesseed April 17, 2012.
- U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote
- "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Lincoln, Pryor back bid to block funding to hold terror suspects in U.S. | Arkansas News". Arkansasnews.com. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- U.S. Senate roll call votes, 109th Congress http://senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00259
- Toner, Robin (March 15, 2007). "Senate Rejects Measure for Iraq Pullout". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- Mark Pryor on Abortion
- Mark Pryor's Political Summary - Project Vote Smart
- U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote
- "Senate Vote 281 - Repeals ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell'". The New York Times.
- "S. 1737 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- Sink, Justin (2 April 2014). "Obama: Congress has 'clear choice' on minimum wage". The Hill. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Bolton, Alexander (8 April 2014). "Reid punts on minimum-wage hike". The Hill. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Bolton, Alexander (4 April 2014). "Centrist Republicans cool to minimum wage hike compromise". The Hill. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Bolton, Alexander (1 April 2014). "Reid: Minimum wage vote may slip". The Hill. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Mark Pryor: Campaign Finance/Money - Summary - Career. Center for Responsive Politics, August 1, 2013
- "S. 376 - All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
- Cox, Ramsey (3 February 2014). "Senate passes bill funding drought information program". The Hill. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
- "S. 1963 - All Actions". United States Congression. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
- Ramsey Cox; Jeremy Herb (10 February 2014). "Senate starts consideration of veterans' pension cuts". The Hill. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
- "S. 1963 - CBO". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
- Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, wife file for divorce - FOX16.com
- Sen. Mark Pryor announces divorce plans | Arkansas Blog | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art
- http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/mark-pryor-lone-arkansas-democrat-hangs-on-95650.html Lone Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor hangs on
- Victoria Advocate | Arkansas senator: Battle with cancer was humbling
- The religion of Mark Pryor, Senator from Arkansas
- Patrick Goldstein (2008-08-07). "Bill Maher hates your (fill in the blank) religion". The Big Picture (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- "Larry King: Bill Maher On His Movie Religulous". YouTube. August 19, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2010.
- Religulous (2008).
- "Behind the closed doors on C Street.". Las Vegas Sun (July 19, 2009). Retrieved on July 26, 2009.
- "U.S. Senate Statewide Results". Secretary of State of Arkansas. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Arkansas
Served alongside: Blanche Lincoln, John Boozman
|Attorney General of Arkansas
|Party political offices|
|Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Arkansas (Class 2)
2002, 2008, 2014
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority
John E. Sununu
|Youngest Member of the United States Senate
January 3, 2009 – January 22, 2009