Mike Kelly (Pennsylvania politician)

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Mike Kelly
Mike Kelly, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded byKathy Dahlkemper
Constituency3rd district (2011–2019)
16th district (2019–present)
Personal details
Born
George Joseph Kelly Jr.

(1948-05-10) May 10, 1948 (age 73)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Victoria Phillips
(m. 1973)
Children4
EducationUniversity of Notre Dame (BA)
WebsiteHouse website

George Joseph "Mike" Kelly Jr. (born May 10, 1948) is an American politician and businessman who has been a U.S. Representative since 2011 and is currently serving as representative for Pennsylvania's 16th congressional district.[1] The district, numbered as the 3rd district from 2011 to 2019, is based in Erie and stretches from the northwest corner of the state to the outer northern suburbs of Pittsburgh.

A member of the Republican Party, he is known for his support of Donald Trump, characterizing the 2019 effort to impeach Trump as being akin to Pearl Harbor and filing a lawsuit in state court to invalidate all mail-in ballots cast in Pennsylvania during the 2020 United States presidential election.

On October 22, 2021, it was reported that a congressional ethics watchdog has recommended subpoenaing Kelly for an ethics violation after it was revealed that his wife had purchased stock in an Ohio-based steel company in April 2020 after Kelly had received confidential information about the company.[2]

Education and early career[edit]

Kelly was born on May 10, 1948, in Pittsburgh,[3] but has spent most of his life in the outer northern suburb of Butler. He attended the University of Notre Dame.[4]

Automotive business[edit]

After college, he worked for his father's Chevrolet/Cadillac car dealership. In 1995, he took over his father's business, and then added Hyundai and KIA to his dealership lineup.[5]

In March 2019, a local TV station discovered that there were 17 vehicles for sale on Kelly's Uniontown and Butler lots which were the subject of recall notices, but they had not been repaired. The station contacted both the businesses and the congressman's office without receiving responses.[6] A month later, a reporter found three of those vehicles with active recalls still for sale.[6] In November 2015, Kelly had spoken on the floor of Congress in support of a bill that would have given permission to dealers to loan or rent vehicles despite there being National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety recall notices on such vehicles. Kelly had said, "There is not a single person in our business that would ever put one of our owners in a defective car or a car with a recall. But that could happen. That could happen." The congressional bill failed to pass.[6]

Kelly's car dealerships received Paycheck Protection Program loans of between $450,000 and $1.05 million to keep staff on the payroll during the coronavirus pandemic.[7]

United States House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2010[edit]

Kelly challenged incumbent Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper in 2010.[8] He won the election by 10%,[9] largely by running up his margins outside of heavily Democratic Erie.

2012[edit]

Kelly defeated Democrat Missa Eaton 55%–41%.[10] His district had been made slightly friendlier in redistricting. The district was pushed slightly to the south, absorbing some rural and Republican territory east of Pittsburgh. At the same time, eastern Erie County was drawn into the heavily Republican 5th district. The 3rd and 5th were drawn so that the boundary between the two districts was almost coextensive with the eastern boundary of the city of Erie.

2014[edit]

Kelly defeated Democrat Dan LaVallee of Cranberry Township 60.5%–39.5%.[11]

2016[edit]

Kelly ran unopposed and received 100% of the vote.

2018[edit]

After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out Pennsylvania's original congressional map in February 2018, Kelly's district was renumbered as the 16th and made slightly more compact. It regained the eastern portion of Erie County that had been drawn into the 5th. To make up for the increase in population, its southern portion was pushed to the west, leaving Kelly's hometown of Butler just barely inside the district.[12]

PoliticsPA wrote that the new 16th was far less safe for Kelly than the old 3rd, citing a Public Policy Polling poll showing Kelly with a 48% to 43% lead over Democratic opponent Ron DiNicola, below the threshold to be considered safe for a fourth term.[13] Additionally, while Trump carried the old 3rd with 61 percent of the vote,[14] he would have carried the new 16th with 58 percent of the vote.[15] However, Nate Cohn of The New York Times had suggested earlier that Kelly would have been in more danger had the 16th absorbed more Democratic-leaning territory northwest of Pittsburgh. Ultimately, much of this territory had been drawn into the reconfigured 17th district (the former 12th district).[12]

Kelly ultimately defeated DiNicola 51.6%–47.2%, his first close contest since his initial run for the seat.

2020[edit]

Kelly defeated Democrat Kristy Gnibus of Erie 59.34%–40.66%, an improvement over his performance in 2018. Kelly received 210,088 votes to Gnubus's 143,962.[16] He likely got coattails from Trump, who carried the district with 59 percent of the vote.[15]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Tenure[edit]

Conservative Political Action Conference attendance[edit]

In late February 2021, Kelly and a dozen other Republican House members skipped votes and enlisted others to vote for them, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, he and the other members were actually attending the Conservative Political Action Conference, which was held at the same time as their slated absences.[19] In response, the Campaign for Accountability, an ethics watchdog group, filed a complaint with the House Committee on Ethics and requested an investigation into Kelly and the other lawmakers.[20]

"Deep state" conspiracy theories[edit]

When speaking at a Mercer County Republican Party event in 2017, Kelly advanced the conspiracy theory that former president Barack Obama was running a "shadow government" to undermine President Trump.[21][22][23] When asked about these remarks, Kelly said that they were meant to be private.[21][24] After the remarks made national news, Kelly's spokesperson said that Kelly did not believe that Obama "is personally operating a shadow government".[21][22][23]

Donald Trump[edit]

Kelly has argued against the release of President Donald Trump's tax returns by the House Ways and Means Committee.[25]

In December 2019, Kelly likened Donald Trump's first impeachment to the Attack on Pearl Harbor.[26] He said the date in which Trump was impeached is "another date that will live in infamy," referring to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's December 1941 statement about the Pearl Harbor attack.[26]

Amid ballot counting in the 2020 election, Kelly filed a lawsuit to stop Pennsylvania from allowing voters to "cure" (fix mistakes on) their ballots.[27] After Joe Biden won the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Kelly filed a suit arguing that all mail-in ballots cast in the state (more than 2.5 million) should be discarded, which would result in flipping the state to Donald Trump.[28] Or if that was not possible, that the electors for president should instead be chosen by the Republican controlled legislature.[29] If successful, this suit would have retroactively disenfranchised millions of voters in the Pennsylvania election.[29] However, on November 28, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously rejected Kelly's suit, additionally ruling to "dismiss with prejudice."[30]

In December 2020, Kelly was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who signed an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden prevailed[31] over incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of the election held by another state.[32][33][34]

Economy[edit]

In March 2021, all House Republicans including Kelly voted against the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.[35]

Healthcare[edit]

On August 1, 2012, Kelly called the HHS mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) - which requires health insurers or employers that provide their employees with health insurance to cover some contraceptive costs in their health insurance plans - an attack on Americans' constitutionally protected religious rights and that August 1, 2012, would go down in infamy as "the day that religious freedom died".[36][better source needed]

Personal life[edit]

Kelly lives in Butler, Pennsylvania, with his wife Victoria. They have four children, George III, Brendan, Charlotte, and Colin, and ten grandchildren.[37] He is the brother-in-law of retired Congressman Phil Roe of Tennessee's 1st congressional district. He is Catholic.[38] In 2019 he stated that, as a person of Irish and Anglo-Saxon descent, he considers himself a person of color—a term often used to describe people of non-white backgrounds.[39] On March 27, 2020, he tested positive for COVID-19.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hildebrand, Nick. "Clock starts to tick for Kelly to get specific about his agenda". The Herald. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  2. ^ "Pa. Rep. Kelly faces ethics scrutiny over stocks purchase". Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  3. ^ "KELLY, Mike (1948-), Biography". Biographical Directory of the United States ongress. United States Congress/Office of the House Historian. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  4. ^ "Mike Kelly - Full Biography". Official website. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 7, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b c Pennsylvania law allows sale of potentially dangerous recalled vehicles, WTAE, Paul Van Osdol, April 26, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  7. ^ "Treasury, SBA data show small-business loans went to private-equity backed chains, members of Congress". The Washington Post. 2020.
  8. ^ http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbs.dll/article?AID=%2F20101103%2FNEWS02%2F311029900%2F-1%2Fnews. Retrieved October 14, 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  9. ^ "USA TODAY: Latest World and US News - USATODAY.com". USA TODAY. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  10. ^ "2016 Election Results: President Live Map by State, Real-Time Voting Updates". Election Hub. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  11. ^ "Pennsylvania Election Results". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Cohn, Nate. "The New Pennsylvania Congressional Map, District by District". The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  13. ^ Kelly Cernetich Brown (June 4, 2018). "PPP Poll: Mike Kelly under 50 percent threshold for re-election". PoliticsPA.
  14. ^ 2016 residential results by congressional district from Daily Kos
  15. ^ a b 2020 presidential results by congressional district from Daily Kos
  16. ^ "Pennsylvania Elections - Office Results".
  17. ^ "Northeast-Midwest Institute » The Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition". www.nemw.org. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  18. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  19. ^ Bash, Dana; Raju, Manu; Diaz, Daniella; Fox, Lauren; Warren, Michael (February 26, 2021). "More than a dozen Republicans tell House they can't attend votes due to 'public health emergency.' They're slated to be at CPAC". CNN. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  20. ^ Grayer, Annie; Diaz, Daniella (March 10, 2021). "First on CNN: Watchdog group requests investigation into 13 GOP lawmakers for misusing proxy voting". CNN. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  21. ^ a b c "Analysis | GOP congressman offers strange Obama conspiracy theory — and even stranger explanations". Washington Post. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  22. ^ a b "Kelly backtracks on claim of Obama". Early Returns. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  23. ^ a b "Western PA congressman backs off 'strange' Obama shadow gove". @politifact. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  24. ^ "Philly Clout: Congressman's conspiracy theory was supposed to be 'private'". Philly.com. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  25. ^ "GOP Warns That Releasing Trump's Taxes Could Lead to More Transparency". Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  26. ^ a b Reuters, Source (December 18, 2019). "Republican congressman Mike Kelly compares impeachment inquiry to Pearl Harbor - video". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved December 20, 2019.
  27. ^ Ngu, Justin Elliott,Jessica Huseman,Isaac Arnsdorf,Dara Lind,Lydia DePillis,Sally Beauvais,Ash. "Whether the GOP Can Stop Voters From Legally Fixing Rejected Mail-In Ballots Could Decide the Election". ProPublica. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  28. ^ Palattella, Ed. "Pa. Supreme Court dismisses Mike Kelly-led lawsuit that sought to invalidate mail-in votes". GoErie.com. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  29. ^ a b Roebuck, Jeremy (November 21, 2020). "Republican Pa. congressman seeks court order throwing out all mail ballots in long-shot suit". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  30. ^ Pa. Supreme Court dismisses Mike Kelly-led lawsuit that sought to invalidate mail-in votes Ed Palattella. Erie Times-News. November 28, 2020. Retrieved November 29, 2020
  31. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  32. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  33. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  34. ^ Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  35. ^ ABC News. "House Democrats pass $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, handing Biden major victory". abcnews.go.com. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  36. ^ "Congressman: 'We're Still Home of the Brave, But We're Not the Land of the Free Anymore'". CNS News. August 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  37. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 12, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^ "RollCall.com - Member Profile - Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa". media.cq.com.
  39. ^ Cole, Devan (July 17, 2019). "White GOP congressman says he isn't offended by racist Trump tweets because 'I'm a person of color'". www.cnn.com. CNN. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  40. ^ Cornwell, Susan (March 27, 2020). "U.S. Representative Mike Kelly tests positive for coronavirus". Reuters. Retrieved March 27, 2020.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 3rd congressional district

2011–2019
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 16th congressional district

2019–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
144th
Succeeded by