Daniel 'Dan' Ray Coats

Contact Information

Telephone:202-224-5623 (Main phone number)
Telephone:317-251-2200 (Main campaign number)
Campaign finance

Candidate Background

Birth place:Jackson, MI
Residence:Indianapolis, IN
First Elected:2010


Next Election:2016

Undergraduate education: Wheaton College


Graduate education: Indiana University - Indianapolis


Dan Coats was born in Jackson, Mich., and now lives in Indianapolis. He earned a bachelor's from Wheaton College in Illinois in 1965. He was in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968 and earned a law degree from Indiana University in 1971.

Coats worked at an insurance company in Fort Wayne before joining then-U.S. Rep. Dan Quayle's staff in 1976. When Quayle ran for the Senate in 1980, Coats won Quayle's former House seat. When Quayle was elected vice president in 1988, Coats was appointed to fill his Senate seat and served until 1999.

He was the U.S. Ambassador to Germany under former President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005 and has worked as a lobbyist in Washington.

Coats and his wife, Marsha, have three adult children.


Dan Coats rode a Republican wave of victories across Indiana in 2010 to reclaim the Senate seat he had stepped down from 12 years earlier.

National Republicans backed Coats when he launched his campaign in February 2010, shortly before Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh made his surprise announcement that he wouldn't seek a third term.

Coats beat Democratic candidate Brad Ellsworth, a former southwestern Indiana congressman, with 55 percent of the vote in the 2010 general election. In the race, Democrats tried unsuccessfully to use Coats' extensive Washington lobbying record to sink him. Democrats criticized him for not releasing details about his lobbying work and for missing a deadline to file a personal financial disclosure form.

Republicans running against him in the 2010 primary portrayed Coats as a rich Washington insider who has lived away from Indiana for too long. Others attacked him for not supporting gun rights because he voted for the 1993 Brady bill that established waiting periods and background checks.

In 2011, when the Democratic-controlled Senate introduced legislation requiring power plants in 27 states to reduce smokestack pollution crossing state lines, Coats and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin put forth an amendment to delay the cross-state pollution rule by three years.

Coats opposes the 2010 federal health care reform law and says Washington must stop spending at current levels.

"Difficult, and perhaps unpopular, decisions must be made today in order to ensure a better tomorrow," he said.

Coats won a special election in 1990 to serve the remainder of Dan Quayle's U.S. Senate term after Quayle became vice president in 1989. Coats' name was last on the Indiana ballot in 1992, when he made a successful bid for a full Senate term. But he decided not to run for re-election in 1998, when Bayh made his first run for the seat.

Coats said he stepped down because of a term limit pledge — and that he ran in 2010 because President Barack Obama's administration and liberal Democrats were taking the country in the wrong direction.

"I could no longer stand idly by and passively watch without getting back in the arena and trying my best to stop the madness in Washington and turn this country around," Coats said on his website at the time. "I couldn't look myself in the mirror without saying, 'Step in, Dan, do something. Help get us back on track.' So, here I am. Back in the fray. Ready to fight again."

During his time in Congress, Coats was a well-known social conservative with a "pro-family" reputation, opposing abortion and supporting traditional social and religious values. As a House member in 1984, he sponsored an amendment to cut off federal education funding to schools that banned voluntary prayer. The amendment was shot down.

Coats has been involved with community service projects for years. He is a past president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and serves on boards of civic and volunteer groups. He and his wife, Marsha, formed The Foundation For American Renewal — an initiative aimed at shifting power and funding from Washington to local, faith-based and nonprofit groups working on social problems.

American Conservative Union Rating: 90

Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 10


Dan Coats is not up for re-election in 2014.

(Last updated by The Associated Press on June 8, 2014.)

Last updated 3:16pm March 1, 2018