Chellie Pingree
Pingree in 2022
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Preceded byTom Allen
Member of the Maine Senate
from the 12th district
21st district (1992–1994)
In office
December 2, 1992 – December 6, 2000
Preceded byLinda Curtis Brawn
Succeeded byChristine Savage
Personal details
Rochelle Marie Johnson

(1955-04-02) April 2, 1955 (age 69)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Charlie Pingree
(m. 2011; div. 2016)
Children3, including Hannah
EducationCollege of the Atlantic (BS)
AwardsMaine Women's Hall of Fame (2001)
WebsiteHouse website

Chellie Marie Pingree (/ˈʃɛli ˈpɪŋɡr/ SHELL-ee PING-gree; born Rochelle Marie Johnson; April 2, 1955) is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative for Maine's 1st congressional district since 2009.[1] Her district includes most of the southern part of the state, including Portland and Augusta.

A member of the Democratic Party, Pingree was a member of the Maine Senate from 1992 to 2000, serving as majority leader for her last four years. She ran for the United States Senate in 2002, losing to incumbent Republican Susan Collins. From 2003 until 2006, she was president and CEO of Common Cause. She is the first Democratic woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine.

Early life, education, and early career

Pingree was born Rochelle Marie Johnson, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Harry and Dorothy Johnson. She moved to Maine as a teenager and had her first name legally changed to Chellie. She attended the University of Southern Maine and graduated from College of the Atlantic with a degree in human ecology. Since graduating from College of the Atlantic, she has resided on North Haven, a small island community off the coast of Rockland.

Pingree held various farming and care-taking jobs until 1981, when she started North Island Yarn, a cottage industry of hand knitters with a retail store on North Haven. Her business expanded and became North Island Designs, employing as many as ten workers. They began marketing knitting kits and pattern books nationwide through 1,200 retail stores and 100,000 mail-order catalogues. Through North Island Designs, Pingree authored and produced five knitting books between 1986 and 1992. Eisenhower Fellowships selected her as a USA Eisenhower Fellow in 1997.[1]

Common Cause

As the leader of Common Cause, Pingree was active in the organization's programs in media reform, elections, ethics, and money in politics. She supported net neutrality, mandatory voter-verified paper ballots, public financing of congressional elections, national popular vote (a workaround for the Electoral College), and an independent ethics commission for Congress. She stepped down from Common Cause in February 2007 to return to her home state and run for Congress in 2008.[2]

Maine Senate


Pingree was first elected in 1992.[3] She was outspoken against going to war against Iraq,[4] although counseled by party insiders to avoid that subject. She was reelected in 1994[5] and 1996. In 2000, she was unable to seek reelection due to term limits.[6]


Pingree represented Knox County in the Maine Senate. She was elected Maine's second female majority leader in 1996.

During her tenure as a state legislator, Pingree made nationwide headlines when she authored the nation's first bill regulating prescription drug prices, Maine Rx.[7] She also shepherded Maine's largest land-bill initiative, Land for Maine's Future.[8]

2002 U.S. Senate campaign

Main article: 2002 United States Senate election in Maine

In 2002, Pingree ran for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican junior U.S. Senator Susan Collins. Collins, a popular moderate incumbent, won by a margin of 17%.[9]

U.S. House of Representatives

Pingree during the 111th Congress



See also: 2008 United States House of Representatives elections in Maine § District 1

In April 2007, Pingree filed papers for her bid to run for Maine's 1st congressional district.[10]

On August 15, 2007, EMILY's List endorsed Pingree for Congress.[11][12] In December 2007, she was endorsed by 21st Century Democrats.[13] She was endorsed by a number of labor organizations and many individuals and state officials, including Congressman Rush D. Holt Jr.; Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; Maine Senate Majority Leader Libby Mitchell; former Maine Senate Assistant Majority Leader Anne Rand; State Representative Paulette Beaudoin; progressive writer and activist Jim Hightower; the United Auto Workers; Planned Parenthood, and the League of Conservation Voters.[14]

Pingree was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2008. She was sworn in on January 6, 2009.[15]


See also: 2010 United States House of Representatives elections in Maine § District 1

Pingree was reelected in 2010, defeating Republican nominee Dean Scontras by a 57–43 margin. She overcame strong anti-Democrat and anti-incumbent political sentiment to become just one of eight House Democrats to receive a higher percentage of the vote than in 2008.[1]


See also: 2012 United States House of Representatives elections in Maine § District 1

On February 29, 2012, an Associated Press story mentioned that Pingree was starting to circulate petitions to run for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Olympia Snowe, which she confirmed on The Rachel Maddow Show later that night.[16] She withdrew her name from the race on March 7 and was reelected to the House.[17]


See also: 2014 United States House of Representatives elections in Maine § District 1

In 2014, Pingree won with 60% of the vote against a Republican who had not previously run for elective office and an independent candidate.


See also: 2016 United States House of Representatives elections in Maine § District 1

In 2016, Pingree defeated Republican nominee Mark Holbrook by around 16 points.[18]


See also: 2018 United States House of Representatives elections in Maine § District 1

In late 2017, Pingree's name was mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for governor of Maine, to succeed term-limited incumbent Paul LePage. In mid-December, she announced plans to run for reelection to the House.[19] Pingree defeated Holbrook again by around 26 points.[20]


See also: 2020 United States House of Representatives elections in Maine § District 1

Pingree was reelected, defeating Republican nominee Jay Allen.[21][22]


See also: 2022 United States House of Representatives elections in Maine § District 1

Pingree was reelected in 2022, defeating Republican nominee Edwin Thelander by 24 percentage points.


Soon after her election, Pingree joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which she is now vice chair. In September 2010, a video surfaced on the internet showing Pingree at Portland International Jetport disembarking from a private jet owned by her then-fiancé, hedge fund manager S. Donald Sussman. This drew criticism due to past statements Pingree made critical of legislators using private aircraft. Pingree declined to respond.[23][24] The House Ethics Committee, in a bipartisan letter, stated the travel was permissible under House ethics rules.[25]

Legislation sponsored

On May 23, 2013, Pingree introduced the York River Wild and Scenic River Study Act of 2013 (H.R. 2197; 113th Congress). If passed, the bill would require the National Park Service (NPS) to study a segment of the York River in Maine for potential addition to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.[26] The study would determine how the proposed designation would affect recreational and commercial activities.[27] The study would cost approximately $500,000.[28]

Committee assignments


Caucus memberships

Political positions

Pingree opposes granting the president fast track authority in negotiating trade agreements, having voted against doing so on June 12, 2015. She said that such agreements need more transparency and debate, not less.[35]

Pingree helped draft the Fair Elections Now Act, a proposal to provide public Fair Elections funding for popular candidates who raised a sufficient number of small local contributions.[36] She has spoken out against the 2011 Supreme Court ruling McComish v. Bennett, which limits public financing systems for congressional campaigns.[36]

Pingree has consistently voted against aggressive foreign policy.[37] In March 2011, she voted for a resolution to remove forces from Afghanistan. In June 2011, she voted for House Resolution 292, preventing President Barack Obama from deploying ground forces in Libya.[37]

In 2017, Pingree did not attend the inauguration of Donald Trump, instead visiting a Planned Parenthood center and a business owned by immigrants. She attended the 2017 Women's March the next day and stood on stage with other politicians who had refused to attend the inauguration.[38] In July 2019, Pingree joined 95 Democrats voting for an impeachment resolution against Trump. Maine representative Jared Golden and 136 other Democrats joined all Republicans to kill the resolution.[39]

In July 2019, Pingree voted against H. Res. 246 - 116th Congress, a House Resolution introduced by Brad Schneider opposing efforts to boycott the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel.[40] The resolution passed 398–17.[41]

On December 18, 2019, Pingree voted to impeach Trump.[42]

Alongside her House colleagues, Pingree has urged President Joe Biden to declare a national climate emergency.[43] She supports Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal resolution.[44]

Pingree voted with President Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time in the 117th Congress, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.[45]


In 2023, Pingree was among 56 Democrats to vote in favor of H.Con.Res. 21, which directed President Joe Biden to remove U.S. troops from Syria within 180 days.[46][47]

Electoral history

Year Office Candidate Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
2008[48] Maine's
Chellie Pingree Democratic 205,629 54.90% Charlie Summers Republican 168,930 45.10%
2010[49] Democratic 169,114 56.82% Dean Scontras Republican 128,501 43.17% Other Other 42 0.01%
2012[50] Democratic 236,363 64.79% Jonathan Courtney Republican 128,440 35.21%
2014[51] Democratic 186,309 60.3% Isaac Misiuk Republican 94,847 30.7% Richard Murphy Other 27,669 9.0%
2016[52] Democratic 227,546 57.9% Mark Holbrook Republican 164,569 42.1% James Bouchard Libertarian 14,551 3.6%
2018[53] Democratic 198,853 58.8% Mark Holbrook Republican 109,714 32.4% Martin Grohman Independent 29,569 8.7%
2020[54] Democratic 271,004 62.2% Jay Allen Republican 165,008 37.8%
2022 Democratic 218,630 62.8% Ed Thelander Republican 128,996 37.1%
2008 U.S. House Democratic primary, 1st district of Maine
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Chellie Pingree 24,324 43.9
Democratic Adam Cote 15,706 28.3
Democratic Michael Brennan 6,040 10.9
Democratic Ethan Strimling 5,833 10.5
Democratic Mark Lawrence 2,726 4.9
Democratic Steve Meister 753 1.3
Total votes 55,382 100
Maine U.S. Senate Election 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Susan Collins (incumbent) 299,266 58.4
Democratic Chellie Pingree 205,901 41.6

Personal life

Pingree has three children; the oldest, Hannah Pingree, is the former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. On June 18, 2011, Pingree married S. Donald Sussman, a hedge fund manager,[55] in a private ceremony at the couple's home in North Haven, Maine.[56]

Until June 1, 2015, Sussman owned a 75%[57] stake in MaineToday Media, the owners of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel, in addition to sitting on the board of directors.[58] Articles in those papers that discussed Pingree carried a disclaimer noting her marriage to Sussman.[55][59]

Sussman completed the sale of his stake in MaineToday Media on June 1, 2015.[60]

Pingree released a statement on September 8, 2015, announcing her separation and beginning of divorce proceedings from Sussman. She called it an "amicable and truly mutual decision". They divorced in the summer of 2016.[61]

Pingree and her daughter Hannah co-own the Nebo Lodge Inn & Restaurant on Maine's North Haven Island.[62]

See also


  1. ^ a b "About Chellie". Archived from the original on 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  2. ^ Griffin, Walter (2008-10-03). "Chellie Pingree: Maine island living shapes longtime politician's views". Bangor Daily News.
  3. ^ "Chellie M Pingree". Iowa State University of Science and Technology. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  4. ^ "Chellie Pingree". Peace Action. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  5. ^ Kyle, Bruce (1994-11-10). "Hard wins, tough defeats for parties in Knox County". Bangor Daily News.
  6. ^ "Congresswoman Chellie Pingree – About". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  7. ^ Phinney, David (2002-04-17). "House cancels Pingree's talk on Rx program". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  8. ^ "U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree Fighting for Change in Washington DC". Archived from the original on 2013-06-12. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
  9. ^ "2002 ELECTION STATISTICS". Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  10. ^ Announcement to run for Congress Boston Globe, April 6, 2007; accessed 2008-03-05
  11. ^ EMILY's List Announces Endorsement of Chellie Pingree for Maine 1st District EMILY'S List, press release Accessed 2008-03-05
  12. ^ Chellie Pingree U.S. House, ME Archived 2008-07-26 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 2017-02-15.
  13. ^ Pingree Announces Endorsements Archived 2008-02-22 at the Wayback Machine 2007-12-20; accessed 2008-03-05
  14. ^ Complete list of endorsements Archived 2008-01-25 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 2008-03-05.
  15. ^ "New Faces of Congress: The House", New York Times; accessed 2009-01-09.
  16. ^ "Sen. Snowe's Retirement Causes Maine Scramble". The New York Times. 2012-02-29.
  17. ^ Livingston, Abby (2012-03-07). "Maine: Chellie Pingree Passes on Senate Bid". Roll Call.
  18. ^ "Maine's 1st Congressional District election, 2016". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  19. ^ "Pingree says she won't run for governor in 2018". Bangor Daily News. 19 December 2017. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  20. ^ "Maine's 1st Congressional District election, 2016". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  21. ^ Ohm, Rachel (2020-11-04). "Pingree declares victory in Maine's 1st Congressional District". Press Herald. Retrieved 2020-11-05.
  22. ^ "November 3, 2020 General Election". Maine Department of Secretary of State. Retrieved 2020-08-30.
  23. ^ Russell, Eric (2010-09-24). "Pingree takes heat for rides on fiance's plane". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on 2012-07-20. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
  24. ^ "Congresswoman Pingree's Travel Record Criticized". WPFO. 2010-09-24. Archived from the original on 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
  25. ^ Staff (2010-09-28). "Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree's jet travel cleared by ethics panel". Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  26. ^ "CBO – H.R. 2197". Congressional Budget Office. 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  27. ^ "H.R. 2197 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  28. ^ McDermott, Deborah (2013-01-30). "Renewed effort aims to designate York River 'Wild and Scenic'". Seacoast Online. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  29. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  30. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  31. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  32. ^ Twitter Member list
  33. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on 2018-08-01. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  34. ^ "Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute".
  35. ^ "Pingree, Poliquin block Obama's desired fast-track on trade deal". Bangor Daily News. 2015-06-12. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  36. ^ a b Pingree, Chellie (2011-06-27). "Congress needs Fair Elections Now". The Hill.
  37. ^ a b "Chellie Pingree: Key Votes". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  38. ^ Walters, Joanna (2017-01-20). "Women's March organizers prepare for hundreds of thousands of protesters". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  39. ^ "House votes to kill impeachment resolution against Trump". The Washington Post. 2019-07-17. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  40. ^ Clare Foran (2019-07-24). "Who voted 'no' on the House resolution opposing Israel boycott movement". CNN. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  41. ^ Schneider, Bradley Scott (2019-07-23). "H.Res.246 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel". Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  42. ^ Panetta, Grace. "WHIP COUNT: Here's which members of the House voted for and against impeaching Trump". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-01-21.
  43. ^ "Pingree urges Biden to declare a climate emergency". Maine Public. 2022-07-22. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  44. ^ "Pingree Announces Support for Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal Resolution". U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree. 2018-11-27. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  45. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron; Wiederkehr, Anna (2021-04-22). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2023-11-15.
  46. ^ "H.Con.Res. 21: Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Syria". GovTrack. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  47. ^ "House Votes Down Bill Directing Removal of Troops From Syria". U.S. News & World Report. 2023-03-08. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  48. ^ "ME – District 1 Race – Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  49. ^ "ME – District 1 Race – Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  50. ^ "ME – District 1 Race- Nov 06, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  51. ^ "Maine Election Results 2014". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  52. ^ "2016 Maine House Election Results". Politico. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  53. ^ "Maine Election Results: First House District". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  54. ^ "November 3, 2020 General Election". Maine Department of Secretary of State. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  55. ^ a b Kevin Miller (2013-04-27). "Chellie Pingree says she won't run for Maine governorl". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
  56. ^ Riskind, Jonathan. "Pingree, Sussman wed". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 2011-06-20.
  57. ^ "Sussman-owned group acquires 75 percent share of MaineToday Media". Bangor Daily News. 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  58. ^ "Chellie Pingree's husband gives boost to MaineToday Media". Bangor Daily News. 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  59. ^ "Pingree's letter to federal regulators protests Comcast, Time Warner merger – The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram". The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  60. ^ "Midcoast owner completes purchase of MaineToday newspapers". Bangor Daily News. 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  61. ^ "Maine Democrats find help elsewhere after megadonor's exit". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
  62. ^ Sekules, Kate. "Maine Vacation: An Amazing Ultra-Locavore Lodge". Food & Wine Magazine. Retrieved 2013-05-06.


Party political offices Preceded byJoseph Brennan Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Maine(Class 2) 2002 Succeeded byTom Allen U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byTom Allen Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom Maine's 1st congressional district 2009–present Incumbent U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial) Preceded byTom McClintock United States representatives by seniority 87th Succeeded byBill Posey