|United States Senator
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Tim Hutchinson|
|Succeeded by||Tom Cotton|
|53rd Attorney General of Arkansas|
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
January 1991 – January 1995
|Born||Mark Lunsford Pryor
January 10, 1963
Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jill Pryor (Divorced)
|Alma mater||University of Arkansas (B.A., J.D.)|
Mark Lunsford Pryor (born January 10, 1963) is an American politician who served as a United States Senator from Arkansas from 2003 to 2015. He is a member of the Democratic Party, and he was Attorney General of Arkansas from 1999 to 2003.
Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Pryor is the son of former Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator David 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. During the 112th Congress he served as the chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance. Pryor ran for re-election in 2014, but lost to Representative Tom Cotton.
- 1 Early life, education, and early political career
- 2 U.S. Senate
- 3 Post-Senate career
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Electoral history
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Early life, education, and early political career
Pryor was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to the former state First Lady 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.
Pryor was recognized for providing a high level of constituent service, and he helped to secure millions of dollars in highway funds for the state. Pryor was also a committed advocate of the state’s military families; he guided the SACRIFICE Act to passage, thus providing families of those injured in combat more timely and reliable medical care. 
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 his father David Pryor (also a former Arkansas governor), who actively campaigned for his son. Pryor defeated Hutchinson 54% to 46% and was the only Democratic candidate for the Senate to defeat a Republican incumbent in that election cycle.
Pryor won re-election in 2008 without a Republican opponent. There had been speculation that former Governor Mike Huckabee would run against Pryor if his presidential bid was unsuccessful, but on March 8, Huckabee said he would not contest the race. The only Republican to express interest in the race, health care executive Tom Formicola, decided not to run. Pryor's only announced opponent was Green Party candidate Rebekah Kennedy, whom he defeated 80% to 20%.
Pryor ran for re-election to a third term in 2014, against Republican U.S. House Rep. 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. After receiving much criticism for the remark, Pryor later said he was not attacking Cotton’s military service, but his perceived 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 hasn't passed any legislation. There's not 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.
Pryor lost to Cotton by a 57% to 39% margin.
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. Pryor was the oldest Senator (at age 45) to become "Baby of the Senate."
In 2013, Pryor voted with President Obama 90% of the time.
Since 2009, Pryor's top three donors have been lawyers ($1,131,431), leadership PACs ($429,149), and lobbyists ($323,769).
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."
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. The bill did not pass. In 2008 Pryor voted against expanding the pool of people exempt from the estate tax.
Pryor voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (usually called "Obamacare") in December 2009, and later voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[better source needed]
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.
In 2003, Pryor voted for a federal ban on partial-birth abortion. 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.
In March 2013, Pryor cosponsored a bill that would flag individuals attempting to buy guns who have used an insanity defense, were ruled dangerous by a court, or had been committed by a court to mental health treatment. It did not address the gun show loophole. The bill has not been passed into law.
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.
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" on January 27, 2014. The bill would repeal the provision of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that would reduce the amount of the annual cost of living increase to non-disabled military veterans under age 62. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that enacting Pryor's bill would stop the reduction of $6.813 billion from the amount paid to veterans annually.
- 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 March 2015, Pryor became a partner at the law and lobbying firm, Venable.
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."
|Democratic||Mark Pryor (Incumbent)||332,609||39.47|
|Democratic||Mark Pryor (incumbent)||804,678||79.53|
|Invalid or blank votes||75,586||n/a|
|Republican||Tim Hutchinson (Incumbent)||370,653||46.1|
- Ostermeier, Eric (November 4, 2014). "Mark Pryor Loss Makes US Senate History". Smart Politics.
- "Famous Central Graduates- Mark Pryor". lrcentralhigh.net.
- "Class of '81". bethesdamagazine.com.
- "Our Campaigns - AR Attorney General - D Primary Race - May 24, 1994". ourcampaigns.com.
- "Our Campaigns - AR Attorney General Race - Nov 03, 1998". ourcampaigns.com.
- Pruden, William. "Mark Lunsford Pryor (1963-)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- [dead link]
- "No GOP Opponent For Mark Pryor's Run For Second Term In U.S. Senate | thv11.com". Todaysthv.com. 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- 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.
- "Hillary for America". hillaryclinton.com. Archived from the original on 2008-11-27.
- "Senate Democrats Backed Obama On Overwhelming Number of 2013 Votes, CQ Roll Call Vote Studies Show". At the Races. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- "Sen. Mark Pryor: Campaign Finance/Money - Summary - Senator 2014". OpenSecrets.org. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- Davis, Susan (April 16, 2012). "Senate Fails to advance Buffett rule". USA Today. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
- "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- "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.
- "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". arfb.com.
- "Democratic senators take issue with the estate tax". Washington Post. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- "Bill Summary & Status - 110th Congress (2007 - 2008) - S.AMDT.4191 - THOMAS (Library of Congress)". loc.gov.
- "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". senate.gov. 27 January 2015.
- "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Senate.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Mark Pryor Says He Would Vote For Obamacare Again". Washington Free Beacon.
- Ashe Schow. "Suddenly, Mark Pryor won't say whether he would vote for Obamacare again". Washington Examiner.
- "Lincoln, Pryor back bid to block funding to hold terror suspects in U.S. | Arkansas News". Arkansasnews.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "U.S. Senate". Senate.gov. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- Toner, Robin (March 15, 2007). "Senate Rejects Measure for Iraq Pullout". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
- Berg, Rebecca (3 July 2014). "Dispute over religious faith sparks spat in Arkansas Senate race". Washington Examiner. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
- "Mark Pryor on Abortion". Ontheissues.org. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". senate.gov. 27 January 2015.
- "Senate Vote 281 - Repeals ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2015-10-27.
- "Gun laws big issue in race". Arkansas Online.
- "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". senate.gov. 27 January 2015.
- Fournier, Ron (2013-04-23). "Mark Pryor May Soon Have A Bloomberg Problem". National Journal. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
- "Graham introduces background check bill with NRA backing". CNN. March 6, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
- "S.480 - NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013". Congress.gov. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
- Rudin, Ken (4 January 2006). "Judging Alito: The Gang of 14 Factor". NPR. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
- "Senate GOP Moves Toward Alito Confirmation". Fox News. Associated Press. 28 January 2006. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
- "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" (PDF). Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
- Megan R. Wilson (27 February 2015). "Ex-Sen. Pryor heading to K Street". The Hill. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
-  Archived February 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, wife file for divorce". www.Fox16.com. Associated Press.
- "Sen. Mark Pryor announces divorce plans". Arkansas Times.
- "Lone Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor hangs on - Manu Raju". Politico.com. 2013-08-20. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- "Arkansas senator: Battle with cancer was humbling". Victoriaadvocate.com. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- "The religion of Mark Pryor, Senator from Arkansas". Adherents.com. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- 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.
- "Behind the closed doors on C Street - Las Vegas Sun News". Lasvegassun.com. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- "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
|Attorney General of Arkansas
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Arkansas
2002, 2008, 2014
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Arkansas
Served alongside: Blanche Lincoln, John Boozman
|Youngest Member of the United States Senate
January 3, 2009 – January 22, 2009