John Cornyn

Last updated

John Cornyn
John Cornyn.jpg
United States Senator
from Texas
Assumed office
December 2, 2002
Servingwith Ted Cruz
Preceded by Phil Gramm
Chair of the Senate Narcotics Caucus
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded by Chuck Grassley
Senate Majority Whip
In office
January 3, 2015 January 3, 2019
Leader Mitch McConnell
Preceded by Dick Durbin
Succeeded by John Thune
Senate Minority Whip
In office
January 3, 2013 January 3, 2015
LeaderMitch McConnell
Preceded by Jon Kyl
Succeeded byDick Durbin
49th Attorney General of Texas
In office
January 13, 1999 December 1, 2002
Governor George W. Bush
Rick Perry
Preceded by Dan Morales
Succeeded by Greg Abbott
Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court
In office
January 2, 1991 October 18, 1997
Preceded byFranklin Spears
Succeeded byDeborah Hankinson
Judge of the Texas 37th Judicial District Court
In office
January 1, 1985 January 1, 1991
Preceded byRichard Woods
Succeeded byAnn-Marie Aaron
Personal details
Born (1952-02-02) February 2, 1952 (age 67)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Sandy Hansen(m. 1979)
Education Trinity University (BA)
St. Mary's University, Texas (JD)
University of Virginia (LLM)
Website Senate website

John Cornyn III (born February 2, 1952) is an American politician and attorney serving as the senior United States Senator for Texas since 2002. He served as the Republican Senate Majority Whip for the 114th and 115th Congresses. [1] Cornyn also previously served as Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 2007 to 2011. [2]

United States senators are conventionally ranked by the length of their tenure in the Senate. The senator in each U.S. state with the longer time in office is known as the senior senator; the other is the junior senator. This convention has no official standing, though seniority confers several benefits, including preference in the choice of committee assignments and physical offices. When senators have been in office for the same length of time, a number of tiebreakers, including previous offices held, are used to determine seniority.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.


Born in Houston, Cornyn is a graduate from Trinity University and St. Mary's University School of Law, receiving his LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Cornyn was a Judge on Texas' 37th District Court from 1985 to 1991, [3] [4] until he was elected an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court, where he served 1991 to 1997. In 1998, Cornyn was elected Attorney General of Texas, serving one term until winning a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2002. He was re-elected to a second term in 2008 and to a third term in 2014.

Houston City in Texas, United States

Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas, fourth most populous city in the United States, as well as the sixth most populous in North America, with an estimated 2018 population of 2,328,419. Located in Southeast Texas near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, it is the seat of Harris County and the principal city of the Greater Houston metropolitan area, which is the fifth most populous metropolitan statistical area in the United States and the second most populous in Texas after the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, with a population of 6,997,384 in 2018.

Trinity University (Texas) University in San Antonio, Texas

Trinity University is a private liberal arts university in San Antonio, Texas. Founded in 1869, its campus is located in the Monte Vista Historic District adjacent to Brackenridge Park. The campus is three miles north of downtown San Antonio and the River Walk and six miles south of the San Antonio International Airport. The student body consists of approximately 2,300 undergraduate and 200 graduate students. Trinity offers 42 majors and 57 minors among 6 degree programs and has an endowment of $1.24 billion, the 85th largest in the country, which permits it to provide resources typically associated with much larger colleges and universities.

St. Marys University School of Law

St. Mary's University School of Law is one of the professional graduate schools of St. Mary's University. The law school is located in San Antonio, Texas, USA and is the only Catholic law school in the American Southwest. The University is a private Catholic university. The School of Law has an enrollment of about 770 students, pursuing Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.), or Master of Jurisprudence (M.Jur.) degrees. St. Mary's is the first law school in Texas to offer the M.Jur., a graduate degree in the study of law for students not seeking to enter the practice of law.

Cornyn was born in Houston, the son of Atholene Gale Cornyn (née Danley) and John Cornyn II, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. [5] While growing up, he attended the American School in Japan after his family moved to Tokyo in 1968, and graduated from there in 1969. [6] He graduated from Trinity University in 1973, where he majored in journalism and was a member of Chi Delta Tau. [7] [8] He earned a Juris Doctor from St. Mary's University School of Law in 1977 and an LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995. [9] [10] He was named the St. Mary's Distinguished Law School Graduate in 1994 and a Trinity University Distinguished Alumnus in 2001. [11]

American School in Japan

The American School in Japan is an international private day school located in the city of Chōfu, Tokyo, Japan. The school consists of an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school, all located on the Chōfu campus. There is also an early learning center (nursery-kindergarten) for children aged 3–5 located in the Roppongi Hills complex in downtown Tokyo. Instruction is in English and follows an American-style curriculum. About two thirds of the school's students are the children of citizens of a wide variety of countries who are on temporary assignment in Japan, and the remaining one third are Japanese students who speak English. The campus is fenced in, resulting from heightened security measures taken after the September 11 attacks, with campus surroundings including the Nogawa Park and the neighborhood of Tama. The Good Schools Guide International called ASIJ "an impressive school, not only for its size and facilities but also for its strong sense of where it is going."

Tokyo Capital of Japan

Tokyo, officially Tokyo Metropolis, one of the 47 prefectures of Japan, has served as the Japanese capital since 1869. As of 2018, the Greater Tokyo Area ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world. The urban area houses the seat of the Emperor of Japan, of the Japanese government and of the National Diet. Tokyo forms part of the Kantō region on the southeastern side of Japan's main island, Honshu, and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo was formerly named Edo when Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu made the city his headquarters in 1603. It became the capital after Emperor Meiji moved his seat to the city from Kyoto in 1868; at that time Edo was renamed Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolis formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo. Tokyo is often referred to as a city but is officially known and governed as a "metropolitan prefecture", which differs from and combines elements of a city and a prefecture, a characteristic unique to Tokyo.

Journalism refers to the production and distribution of reports on recent events. The word journalism applies to the occupation, as well as citizen journalists using methods of gathering information and using literary techniques. Journalistic media include print, television, radio, Internet, and, in the past, newsreels.

He served in San Antonio for six years as a district judge before being elected as a Republican in 1990 to the Texas Supreme Court, on which he served for seven years.

San Antonio City in Texas, United States

San Antonio, officially the City of San Antonio, is the seventh-most populous city in the United States, and the second-most populous city in both Texas and the Southern United States, with more than 1.5 million residents. Founded as a Spanish mission and colonial outpost in 1718, the city became the first chartered civil settlement in present-day Texas in 1731. The area was still part of the Spanish Empire, and later of the Mexican Republic. Today it is the state's oldest municipality.

Attorney General

1998 election

In 1998, Cornyn decided to run to become Texas Attorney General. In the March primary, Barry Williamson, Railroad Commissioner, placed first with 38% of the vote but failed to get the 50% threshold necessary to win the Republican nomination. Cornyn, then a state Supreme Court Justice, got second place with 32%. [12] In the April run-off election, Cornyn defeated Williamson 58% to 42%. [13] In the general election, Cornyn defeated Jim Mattox, former attorney general (1983–1991) and U.S. Congressman, with 54% of the vote. [14] In 1998, Senator Cornyn became the first Republican elected Attorney General of Texas since Reconstruction and was sworn in by Governor George W. Bush. [15]

Texas Attorney General attorney general for the U.S. state of Texas

The Texas Attorney General is the chief legal officer of the State of Texas. The current Attorney General Ken Paxton has served in this position since January 5, 2015.

Barry Ashlin Williamson is an attorney from Austin, Texas, who was from 1992 to 1999 a Republican member of the Texas Railroad Commission. In 1992, he defeated the appointed incumbent Lena Guerrero, a Democrat, to win a seat on the three-member panel which regulates oil and natural gas operations.

Jim Mattox American politician

James Albon Mattox was an American lawyer and politician who served three terms in the United States House of Representatives and two four-year terms as state Attorney General, but lost high-profile races for Governor in 1990, the U.S. Senate in 1994, and again as attorney general in 1998. He was known as the "people's lawyer" because of his advocacy of what he deemed the needs of everyday Texans. He was a member of the Democratic Party.


State of Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, 1997 JohnCornynAttorneyGeneral1997.jpg
State of Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, 1997

He created the Texas Internet Bureau to investigate illegal internet practices. He fought against government waste and corruption with his investigation of fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims. [16]

Cornyn was criticized for failing to investigate in a timely manner the false drug convictions of numerous African-Americans in Tulia, Texas. An Austin Chronicle article on September 6, 2002, said that Cornyn announced that his office will investigate the 1999 drug bust, where the accused represented 16% of the town's black population. [17]

In 2005, Cornyn's name was mentioned among possibilities to replace Supreme Court justices Sandra Day O'Connor or William Rehnquist. [18]

United States Senate

Cornyn during the 113th congress John Cornyn 113th Congress.jpg
Cornyn during the 113th congress



In the 2002 U.S. Senate Primary in Texas, Cornyn was the candidate promoted and supported by the Texas Republican Party. He easily defeated the five other candidates in the Republican Primary without debating the other candidates. Cornyn defeated his closest Republican challenger, Bruce Rusty Lang, a self-financed Dallas-based international physician, in the Republican Primary election by a ten to one electoral margin. In the 2002 General election, Cornyn defeated Democrat Ron Kirk in a campaign that cost each candidate over $9 million. [19] Cornyn's predecessor, Phil Gramm, resigned early, effective November 30, 2002, so that Senator-Elect Cornyn could take office early, and move into Gramm's office suite in order to begin organizing his staff. Cornyn did not, however, gain seniority, owing to a 1980 Rules Committee policy that no longer gave seniority to senators who entered Congress early for the purpose of gaining advantageous office space.


Texas has not elected a Democrat in a statewide election since 1994, and according to Rasmussen polling, in October 2008 Cornyn had an approval rating of 50%. [20] Texas House of Representatives member/Afghanistan War veteran Rick Noriega secured his place as Cornyn's Democratic challenger in the March 4 primary, beating out opponents Gene Kelly, Ray McMurrey, and Rhett Smith. The same Rasmussen poll showed Cornyn leading Noriega 47% to 43%, suggesting that this race might have proved to be unexpectedly competitive. However, most polls showed a much wider margin. Christian activist Larry Kilgore of Mansfield, was a Republican challenger for the March 2008 primary election, but Cornyn easily won the Republican Primary. [21]

Yvonne Adams Schick was the Libertarian Party's nominee. [22] In addition, the Green Party of Texas sought ballot access for its candidate David B. Collins. [23]

John Cornyn speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. John Cornyn by Gage Skidmore.jpg
John Cornyn speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Cornyn succeeded in his reelection in 2014. Cornyn, according to the Dallas Morning News , "never broke a sweat." [24] He won the Republican primary with 59% of the vote against Houston-area congressman Steve Stockman in the March primary. [24] In the general election he raised $14 million, outspending nearly 3-1 Democrat David Alameel, a Dallas resident. [24]


In 2004, Cornyn co-founded and became the co-chairman of the U.S. Senate India Caucus. [25] Cornyn was selected by his colleagues in December 2006 to be a member of the five-person Republican Senate leadership team as Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. [26]

Cornyn has received various awards and recognitions, including the 2005 Border Texan of the Year Award; the National Child Support Enforcement Association's Children's Champion Award; the American Farm Bureau Federation's Friend of Farm Bureau Award; the Texas Association of Business's (TAB) Fighter for Free Enterprise Award; the National Federation of Independent Business's (NFIB) Guardian of Small Business Award; the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders's (CONLAMIC) Latino Leadership Award; and the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce's (TAMACC) International Leadership Legislative Award; among others. [ citation needed ]

In 2005, Cornyn gained notice by connecting the Supreme Court's reluctance to hear arguments for sustaining Terri Schiavo's life with the recent murders of Judge Joan Lefkow's husband and mother as well as the courtroom murder of Judge Rowland Barnes. Cornyn said: "I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection, but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and building up to the point where some people engage in violence". [27] His statement and a similar one by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay were widely denounced, including by The New York Times . [28] Cornyn later said that the statement was taken out of context and for that reason he regretted the statement. [29]

In 2005, the Project On Government Oversight, a government watchdog group, presented Cornyn and Senator Patrick Leahy with its first ever Bi-Partisan Leadership Award in honor of their cooperation on issues of government oversight and transparency, including their co-sponsorship of the OPEN Government Act of 2005, which prevented burying exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act in legislation. [30]

On May 18, 2007, Cornyn was involved in an altercation with the late Senator John McCain. During a meeting on immigration, McCain and Cornyn had a shouting match when Cornyn started questioning the number of judicial appeals that illegal immigrants could receive. McCain yelled an insult at Cornyn and said "I know more about this than anyone else in the room." Previously, Cornyn told McCain, "Wait a second here. I've been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You're out of line." [31] [32]

Cornyn has been described by Jim Jubak of MSN Money as one of "Big Oil's ten favorite members of Congress", as he has received more money from the oil and gas industry than all but six other members of Congress. [33]

On the day of Obama's inauguration, it was reported that Cornyn would prevent Hillary Clinton from being confirmed as secretary of state by a unanimous floor vote that day. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's spokesman reported to the Associated Press that a roll call vote would be held instead on the following day, January 21, 2009, for the Clinton confirmation and that it was expected Clinton would "receive overwhelming bipartisan support". [34] The vote was 94–2 in her favor, with only Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC) and David Vitter (R-LA) voting in opposition. [35]

As chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Cornyn was a strong supporter of Norm Coleman's various court challenges to the 2008 election certification of the Minnesota U.S. Senate race. [36] Cornyn advocated for Coleman to bring the case before the federal court, and had said the trial and appeals could take years to complete. [37] Cornyn had threatened that Republicans would wage a "World War III" if the Senate Democrats had attempted to seat Democratic candidate Al Franken before the appeals were complete. [38] Coleman conceded after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in favor of Democratic candidate Al Franken.

Senate Majority Whip

Senator John Cornyn as U.S. Senate Majority Whip, after 2014 re-election. CornynMajorityWhip2014.jpg
Senator John Cornyn as U.S. Senate Majority Whip, after 2014 re-election.

On November 14, 2012, Cornyn was elected Senate Minority Whip by his peers. [39]

Cornyn was named Senate Majority Whip after 2014 election, during which the Republican Party took control of the Senate. [40] [24]

In February 2013, Cornyn became one of the sponsors of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act to expedite open access to taxpayer-funded research. [41]

After the death of Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, Cornyn said that any nominee by Obama would have a difficult confirmation process and would feel like a piñata. [42] He also stated that no serious candidate would accept a nomination before they would know that they would not be confirmed. When Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Scalia, Cornyn said that even if the president has the constitutional authority to nominate someone, the Senate has full authority on how to proceed afterwards. Cornyn also said that the voice of the people should play a role and that the vacancy should be filled by the winner of the upcoming presidential election, so no hearings on Garland would be held. [43]

Cornyn supported the Senate resolution expressing objection to the UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which called Israeli settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories a flagrant violation of international law. [44]

President Donald Trump with Senators Cornyn and Ted Cruz, August 29, 2017 President of the United States Donald J. Trump, United States Senator for Texas John Cornyn, and United States Senator from Texas Ted Cruz, August 29, 2017 (36776448741).jpg
President Donald Trump with Senators Cornyn and Ted Cruz, August 29, 2017

On June 8, 2017, Cornyn questioned James Comey on Hillary's Clinton's emails at a committee hearing whose announced topic was the Russian interference in the 2016 election and Comey's dismissal as FBI director. [45]

In September 2018, during the Supreme Court nomination hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, Cornyn accused the Democrats sitting on the Judiciary Committee of descending into mob rule by breaking the rules of decorum when asking for postponement or adjournment of the hearing to obtain or review documents from Kavanaugh's time during his time working for the George W. Bush administration. Cornyn said that it was hard to find the Democrats' claim that they could not properly assess Kavanaugh without the documents credible because it seemed like their minds had been made up beforehand. [46]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Cornyn was ranked by National Journal as the fourteenth-most conservative United States Senator in their 2013 rankings. [47] He was considered by The Dallas Morning News to be a reliable ally of former President George W. Bush on most issues. [48]

Civil rights and law enforcement

In the 2004 debate surrounding the Federal Marriage Amendment, Cornyn released an advance copy of a speech he was to give at The Heritage Foundation. In the speech, he wrote, "It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right... Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife". According to his office, he removed the reference to the box turtle in the actual speech, [49] but The Washington Post ran the quote, as did The Daily Show . [50] [51]

Cornyn sponsored a bill that would allow law enforcement to force anyone arrested or detained by federal authorities to provide samples of their DNA, which would be recorded in a central database. [52] He voted to recommend a constitutional ban on flag desecration and for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. He also voted for the reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act and extending its wiretap provision.

In a viral tweet posted February 24, 2019, Cornyn mocked dictatorship, centralized power and democratic socialism, by quoting Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, stating: "We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become." [53]

Human rights

In August 2018, Cornyn and 16 other lawmakers urged the Trump administration to impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act against Chinese officials who are responsible for human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority in western China's Xinjiang region. [54] They wrote: "The detention of as many as a million or more Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in "political reeducation” centers or camps requires a tough, targeted, and global response." [55]

Climate change

Cornyn was one of 22 senators to sign a letter to President Donald Trump urging the President to have the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement. [56]

Defense and homeland security

Cornyn was one of only 22 Senators to vote against the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 that expands the educational benefits for soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. [57] Instead, he co-sponsored S. 2938, which gives benefits that are dependent on length of service. [58]

In December 2010, Cornyn was one of twenty-six senators who voted against the ratification of New Start, [59] a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russian Federation obliging both countries to have no more than 1,550 strategic warheads as well as 700 launchers deployed during the next seven years along with providing a continuation of on-site inspections that halted when START I expired the previous year. It was the first arms treaty with Russia in eight years. [60]

In August 2012, following news reports that a Russian Akula-class nuclear-powered submarine operated in the Gulf of Mexico purportedly undetected for over a month, Cornyn demanded details of this deployment from Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations. [61]

In 2013 Cornyn said that, despite the sequester, the Pentagon would actually see its budget increase. [62]

In April 2018, Cornyn was one of eight Republican senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and acting Secretary of State John Sullivan expressing "deep concern" over a report by the United Nations exposing "North Korean sanctions evasion involving Russia and China" and asserting that the findings "demonstrate an elaborate and alarming military-venture between rogue, tyrannical states to avoid United States and international sanctions and inflict terror and death upon thousands of innocent people" while calling it "imperative that the United States provides a swift and appropriate response to the continued use of chemical weapons used by President Assad and his forces, and works to address the shortcomings in sanctions enforcement." [63]

Cornyn supported U.S. involvement in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. [64] [65] In December 2018, Cornyn stated that the U.S. should stand with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, saying: "Saudi Arabia is fighting a proxy war against Iran in Yemen, and an overreaction, in my view, would mean that we cancel arms sales and simply abandon our ally." [64]

Social policy

He voted to ban intact dilation and extraction (a procedure also known as "partial-birth abortion") except in cases where the mother's life was in danger, and for a criminal penalty for harming a fetus while committing another crime. He also voted in favor of notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. He voted against expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. [66] He voted to prevent contributions to organizations that provide abortion as a component of family planning, and to prevent funding of organizations that support coercive abortion. [67]

Cornyn voted to confirm Samuel Alito as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and John Roberts for Chief Justice of the United States. [66] In September 2005, during the Supreme Court hearings for Roberts, Cornyn's staff passed out bingo cards to reporters. He asked them to stamp their card every time a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee used terms such as "far right" or "extremist". [68]

On July 24, 2009, Cornyn announced his intention to vote against President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, citing his opinion that she might rule "from a liberal, activist perspective". [69]

In February 2019, Cornyn was one of eleven senators to sign a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen urging them "to work with all federal, state and local regulators, as well as the hundreds of independent power producers and electricity distributors nation-wide to ensure our systems are protected" and affirming that they were "ready and willing to provide any assistance you need to secure our critical electricity infrastructure." [70]

Fiscal policy

In 2018, Cornyn voted for the Omnibus bill H.R. 1625 which is projected to add $1.3 Trillion to the US deficit. [71] [72]

Cornyn voted to permanently repeal the estate tax and for raising the estate tax exemption to $5 million. He voted in favor of $350 billion in tax cuts over 11 years and supports making the George W. Bush tax cuts permanent. [66] However, he stands opposed to extending the 2011 payroll tax holiday. [73]

Cornyn is a cosponsor of the Fair Tax Act of 2007. [74] John Cornyn also voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 but against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.

In 2005, Cornyn voted against including oil and gas smokestacks in mercury regulations. He voted against factoring global warming into federal project planning, and against banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He also voted against removing oil and gas exploration subsidies. [66] During his tenure in the Senate, Cornyn has scored 0% on the League of Conservation Voters' environmental scorecard, a system of ranking politicians according to their voting record on environmental legislation. [75]

Cornyn voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in 2008 also known as the Wall Street bailout, and later voted to end the program. [76]

Health care

Cornyn opposed President Barack Obama's health reform legislation; he voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) in December 2009, [77] and he voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. [78] Cornyn stated that Senator Cruz's efforts to defund Obamacare by threatening to default on the U.S. Government's debt obligations were "unachievable", saying "the shutdown did not help our cause. What did help our cause was the president's implementation of Obamacare, which has overwhelmed everything else. I don't hear anyone thinking that another government shutdown is the way to achieve our goals." [79] Cornyn joined other Republican leaders to block fellow Texas Senator Ted Cruz's procedural move to reject an increase in the debt ceiling. [80]

Gun rights

In April 2013, Senator Cornyn was one of 46 senators to vote against the passing of a bill which would have expanded background checks for all buyers. Cornyn voted with 40 Republicans and 5 Democrats to stop the passage of the bill.

In January 2014, Senator Cornyn introduced the "Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act". The bill would provide interstate reciprocity for persons with concealed weapons permits. Cornyn described the bill as "It's like a driver's license. It doesn't trump state laws. Say you have a carry permit in Texas; then you use it in another state that has a concealed-carry law." [81] He was rated "A" by the National Rifle Association (NRA) as of 2003 [66] and 2014; [81] as of 2018 his NRA rating was "A+". [82] Cornyn has continued to support Concealed Carry Reciprocity as of the year of 2018, with the Republican-held House of Representatives passing a bill in late 2017 with this language attached to gun control measures from the Senate's Fix NICS bill. [83]

Victims' rights

Senator John Cornyn has long been opposed to anyone profiting from memorabilia tied to convicted murderers, and had made three attempts thus far to pass acts against this. He introduced his first "Stop the Sale of Murderabilia to Protect the Dignity of Crime Victims Act" in 2007, which died in committee. He then revived it three years later with cosponsor Amy Klobuchar. The 2010 version of the "Murderabilia" bill met the same fate as the first. [84]

In 2013, inspired by a Nidal Hasan letter put up for sale by artist Kelly Hutchison, Cornyn decided to continue working on his bill. The listing claimed that all proceeds would be donated to charity, and the letter was reported to have sold anywhere from $2000 USD [85] to $500,000 USD [86] by various news sources.


In January 2018, Cornyn was one of thirty-six Republican senators to sign a letter to President Trump requesting he preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement by modernizing it for the economy of the 21st Century. [87]

Electoral history

United States Senate election in Texas, 2014 [88]
Republican John Cornyn2,855,06862
Democratic David Alameel1,594,25234
Libertarian Rebecca Paddock133,4673
Green Emily Marie Sanchez54,5871
Independent Mohammed Tahiro1,178<1
Total votes4,638,552100
Turnout 33
Republican hold
United States Senate Republican primary election in Texas, 2014
RepublicanJohn Cornyn (incumbent)781,25959
Republican Steve Stockman 251,57719
RepublicanDwayne Stovall140,79411
RepublicanLinda Vega50,0574
RepublicanKen Cope34,4093
RepublicanChris Mapp23,5352
RepublicanReid Reasor20,6002
RepublicanCurt Cleaver12,3251
Texas U.S. Senate election 2008
Republican John Cornyn (incumbent)4,326,63955
Democratic Rick Noriega 3,383,89043
Libertarian Yvonne Adams Schick184,7292
Texas U.S. Senate Republican primary election 2008
RepublicanJohn Cornyn (incumbent)997,21681
RepublicanLarry Kilgore226,64919
Texas U.S. Senate election 2002
Republican John Cornyn2,480,99155
Democratic Ron Kirk 1,946,68143
Libertarian Scott Jameson35,5381
Green Roy Williams25,051<1
Texas U.S. Senate Republican primary election 2002
RepublicanJohn Cornyn478,82577
RepublicanBruce Rusty Lang46,9078
RepublicanDouglas Deffenbaugh43,6117
RepublicanDudley Mooney32,2025
RepublicanLawrence Cranberg17,7573
Texas Attorney General election 1998
RepublicanJohn Cornyn2,002,79454
Democratic Jim Mattox 1,631,04544
LibertarianMike Angwin57,6042
Texas Attorney General Republican primary runoff election 1998
RepublicanJohn Cornyn135,13058
RepublicanBarry Williamson98,21842
Texas Attorney General Republican primary election 1998
Republican Barry Williamson 208,34538
RepublicanJohn Cornyn176,26932
RepublicanTom Pauken162,18030
Texas Associate Justice Supreme Court election 1996
RepublicanJohn Cornyn (incumbent)2,686,51852
DemocraticPatrice Barron2,351,75046
LibertarianThomas Stults129,2032

Personal life

Cornyn and his wife, Sandy Hansen, have two daughters. [89]

Cornyn gained national attention when he released a video referring to himself as "Big Bad John". The video was featured on comedy shows such as The Colbert Report and The Daily Show .

In August 2014, Cornyn was named "Mr. South Texas" for the 118th Washington's Birthday Celebration in Laredo in February 2015. WBCA president Veronica Castillon said that Cornyn "loves Laredo, and it shows through his attention and actions..." [90]

Cornyn receives pensions from three separate state and local governments in addition to his Senate salary. [91]


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Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr. is an American politician serving as Kentucky’s senior United States Senator and as Senate Majority Leader. McConnell is the second Kentuckian to lead his party in the Senate, is the longest-serving U.S. Senator from Kentucky in history, and is the longest-serving Republican U.S. Senate leader in history.

Pat Roberts United States Senator from Kansas

Charles Patrick Roberts is an American politician of the Republican Party serving as the senior United States Senator from Kansas, a position he has held since 1997. Roberts previously served as the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Lisa Murkowski Republican U.S. Senator from Alaska

Lisa Ann Murkowski is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Alaska, having held that seat since 2002. She is a member of the Republican Party, and is the second most senior Republican woman in the Senate. Along with Susan Collins from Maine, she is frequently described as one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate and is a crucial swing voter.

Kay Bailey Hutchison American politician

Kay Bailey Hutchison is an American attorney, television correspondent, politician, and diplomat who is the 22nd United States Permanent Representative to NATO. A member of the Republican Party, she was previously a United States Senator for Texas from 1993 to 2013.

Jeff Flake Republican U.S. Senator from Arizona

Jeffry Lane Flake is an American politician who served as a United States Senator from Arizona from 2013 to 2019. A Republican, Flake previously served in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013.

Texas Senate

The Texas Senate is the upper house of the Texas State Legislature. There are 31 members of the Senate, representing single-member districts across the U.S. state of Texas, with populations of approximately 806,000 per constituency, based on the 2010 U.S. Census. There are no term limits, and each term is four years long. Elections are held in even-numbered years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In elections in years ending in 2, all seats are up for election. Half of the senators will serve a two-year term, based on a drawing; the other half will fill regular four-year terms. In the case of the latter, they or their successors will be up for two-year terms in the next year that ends in 0. As such, in other elections, about half of the Texas Senate is on the ballot. The Senate meets at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The Republicans currently control the chamber, which is made up of 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats.

Pat Toomey United States Senator from Pennsylvania

Patrick Joseph Toomey Jr. is an American businessman and politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Pennsylvania since 2011. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district from 1999 to 2005; he did not seek a fourth term to honor a pledge he had made while running for office in 1998.

Roy Blunt United States Senator from Missouri

Roy Dean Blunt is an American politician who is the senior United States Senator from Missouri, serving since 2011. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a member of the United States House of Representatives and as Missouri Secretary of State.

Richard Burr Sales executive, Senator from North Carolina

Richard Mauze Burr is an American businessman and politician who is the senior United States Senator from North Carolina, serving since 2005. A member of the Republican Party, Burr was previously a member of the United States House of Representatives.

Steve Stockman American politician

Stephen Ernest Stockman is an American who was a member of the Republican Party. He served as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 9th congressional district from 1995 to 1997 and for Texas's 36th congressional district from 2013 to 2015. Stockman ran in the Republican primary for the United States Senate in the 2014 election but lost to incumbent Senator John Cornyn.

Ted Cruz United States Senator from Texas

Rafael Edward Cruz is an American politician and attorney serving as the junior United States Senator for Texas since 2013. He was the runner-up for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

Joe Donnelly American politician

Joseph Simon Donnelly Sr. is an American attorney and politician who served as a United States Senator from Indiana from 2013 to 2019.

Rand Paul American politician, ophthalmologist, and United States Senator from Kentucky

Randal Howard Paul is an American politician and physician serving as the junior United States Senator from Kentucky since 2011, alongside Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He is the son of former U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas.

Pete Olson American politician

Peter Graham Olson is the U.S. Representative for Texas's 22nd congressional district, serving since 2009. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district includes much of southern Houston, as well as most of the city's southwestern suburbs such as Katy, Pearland, and Sugar Land.

Mike Lee (American politician) United States Senator from Utah

Michael Shumway Lee is an American politician, author, and attorney who is the senior United States Senator from Utah. A conservative, libertarian-leaning Republican, Lee has served in the Senate since January 3, 2011.

2014 United States Senate election in Texas

The 2014 United States Senate election in Texas was held on November 4, 2014, to elect a member of the United States Senate. Incumbent Republican senator and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn ran for re-election to a third term. Primary elections were held on March 4, 2014. The Democratic primary required a runoff election on May 27, 2014, to choose an opponent to Cornyn. David Alameel, who came in first in the primary, won the runoff and became his party's nominee.


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Legal offices
Preceded by
Franklin Spears
Associate Justice of the Texas Supreme Court
Succeeded by
Deborah Hankinson
Preceded by
Dan Morales
Attorney General of Texas
Succeeded by
Greg Abbott
Party political offices
Preceded by
Phil Gramm
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Texas
(Class 2)

2002, 2008, 2014
Most recent
Preceded by
Kay Bailey Hutchison
Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference
Succeeded by
John Thune
Preceded by
John Ensign
Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Succeeded by
Jerry Moran
Preceded by
Jon Kyl
Senate Republican Whip
Succeeded by
John Thune
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Phil Gramm
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Texas
Served alongside: Kay Hutchison, Ted Cruz
Preceded by
Tim Johnson
Ranking Member of the Senate Ethics Committee
Succeeded by
Johnny Isakson
Preceded by
Jon Kyl
Senate Minority Whip
Succeeded by
Dick Durbin
Preceded by
Dick Durbin
Senate Majority Whip
Succeeded by
John Thune
Preceded by
Chuck Grassley
Chair of the Senate Narcotics Caucus
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Maria Cantwell
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Lisa Murkowski