Carol Moseley Braun
|United States Ambassador to New Zealand|
December 15, 1999 - March 1, 2001
George W. Bush
|United States Ambassador to Samoa|
February 8, 2000 - March 1, 2001
George W. Bush
|United States Senator|
January 3, 1993 - January 3, 1999
|Cook County Recorder of Deeds|
December 1, 1988 - December 1, 1992
|Member of the Illinois House of Representatives|
from the 25th district
January 12, 1983 - December 1, 1988
|Member of the Illinois House of Representatives|
from the 24th district
January 5, 1979 - January 12, 1983
Carol Elizabeth Moseley
August 16, 1947
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
(m. 1973; div. 1986)
|Education||University of Illinois at Chicago (BA)|
University of Chicago (JD)
Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun, also sometimes Moseley-Braun (born August 16, 1947), is an American diplomat, politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. Prior to her Senate tenure, Moseley Braun was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1979 to 1988 and served as Cook County Recorder of Deeds from 1988 to 1992. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 after defeating Senator Alan Dixon in a Democratic primary. Moseley Braun served one term in the Senate and was defeated by Republican Peter Fitzgerald in 1998.
Following her Senate tenure, Moseley Braun served as the United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa from 1999 to 2001. She was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2004 U.S. presidential election; she withdrew from the race prior to the Iowa caucuses. In November 2010, Moseley Braun began a campaign for Mayor of Chicago to replace retiring incumbent Richard M. Daley. She placed fourth in a field of six candidates, losing the February 2011 election to Rahm Emanuel.
Moseley Braun was the first African-American female elected to the U.S. Senate, the first African-American U.S. Senator from the Democratic Party, the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in an election, and the first female U.S. Senator from Illinois.
Carol Elizabeth Moseley was born in Chicago. She attended public and parochial schools. She attended Ruggles School for elementary school, and she attended Parker High School (now the site of Paul Robeson High School) in Chicago. Her father, Joseph J. Moseley, was a Chicago police officer and jail guard and her mother, Edna A. (Davie), was a medical technician in a hospital. Both her parents were Catholic. The family lived in a segregated middle-class neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago. Her parents divorced when she was in her teens, and she lived with her grandmother.
Moseley began her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but dropped out after four months. She then majored in political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, graduating in 1969. Moseley earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1972.
Moseley Braun was a prosecutor in the United States Attorney's office in Chicago from 1973 to 1977. An Assistant United States Attorney, she worked primarily in the civil and appellate law areas. Her work in housing, health policy, and environmental law won her the Attorney General's Special Achievement Award.
Moseley Braun was first elected to public office in 1978, when she was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. She became the first African-American woman to serve as assistant majority leader in that body. As a state representative, she became recognized as a champion for liberal social causes. As early as 1984, she proposed a moratorium on the application in Illinois of the death penalty. In what became a landmark reapportionment case, Crosby v. State Board of Elections, she successfully sued her own party and the state of Illinois on behalf of African-American and Hispanic citizens. When she left the state legislature, her colleagues recognized her in a resolution as "the conscience of the House."In 1988, she was elected Cook County Recorder of Deeds, a post she held for four years.
In 1992, angered by incumbent Democratic senator Alan Dixon's vote to confirm Clarence Thomas, Moseley Braun challenged Dixon in the primary election for U.S. Senate. She was backed by the political coalition from the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago that had previously backed the campaigns of Harold Washington and Jesse Jackson. Democratic candidate Albert Hofeld's campaign ran many anti-Dixon ads, and Moseley Braun won the Democratic primary. On November 3, 1992, Moseley Braun became the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate, defeating Republican Richard S. Williamson. Her election marked the first time Illinois had elected a woman to the U.S. Senate and the first time an African American was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.
Moseley Braun is the first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. Along with Republican Edward Brooke, she was one of two African Americans to serve in the Senate in the 20th century. Moseley Braun was the sole African American in the Senate during her tenure. She was also the first woman to serve on the Senate Finance Committee.
Despite her reputation as a liberal Democrat, Moseley Braun possessed something of a centrist record on economic issues. She voted for the 1993 budget package and against the welfare reform laws passed in 1996, but on many other matters she was more conservative. Moseley Braun voted in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and lawsuit reform measures like the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (she was also among the minority of Democrats to support the even more controversial Common Sense Product Liability and Legal Reform Act of 1995). She also voted contrary to the interests of the more populist wing of the party by voting for the Freedom to Farm Act and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Like her Illinois colleague, fellow Democrat Paul Simon, she voted in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution. Moseley Braun also voted to place a nuclear spent fuel storage facility in Nevada; this move was strongly opposed by many Democrats, especially Majority Leader Harry Reid.
On social issues, however, Moseley Braun was significantly more liberal than many of her fellow senators. She was strongly pro-choice, voting against the ban on partial-birth abortions and the restrictions on funding in military bases for abortions. She also voted against the death penalty and in favor of gun control measures. Moseley Braun was one of only sixteen senators to vote against the Communications Decency Act and one of only fourteen to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act. She delivered a eulogy for Thurgood Marshall in January 1993.
Moseley Braun was the subject of a 1993 Federal Election Commission investigation over $249,000 in unaccounted-for campaign funds. The agency found some small violations, but took no action against Moseley Braun, citing a lack of resources. Moseley Braun only admitted to bookkeeping errors. The Justice Department turned down two requests for investigations from the IRS.
Women were not allowed to wear pants on the U.S. Senate floor until 1993. In 1993, Senators Moseley Braun and Barbara Mikulski wore pants onto the floor in defiance of the rule. Soon after, female support staff followed their example. Later that year, the rule was amended by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Martha Pope to allow women to wear pants on the floor so long as they also wore jackets.
In 1993, Moseley Braun made headlines when she convinced the Senate Judiciary Committee not to renew a design patent for the United Daughters of the Confederacy because it contained the Confederate flag. The patent had been routinely renewed for nearly a century, and despite the Judiciary Committee's disapproval, the Senate was poised to pass a resolution sponsored by Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina that included a provision to authorize the extension of the federal patent. Moseley Braun threatened to filibuster the legislation "until this room freezes over." She also made a plea to her colleagues about the symbolism of the Confederate flag, declaring, "It has no place in our modern times, place in this body, place in our society". Swayed by Moseley Braun's argument, the Senate rejected the UDC's application to renew its patent.
In 1996, Moseley Braun made a private trip to Nigeria, where she met with dictator Sani Abacha. Despite U.S. sanctions against that country due to Abacha's actions, the Senator neither notified nor registered her trip with the State Department. She subsequently defended Abacha's human rights record in Congress. Her former fiancé Kgosie Matthews, who also served on her campaign staff in violation of U.S. immigration regulations, had been a lobbyist for the Nigerian government; Matthews would later leave the country. She paid Matthews, a native of South Africa, a salary of $15,000 a month during the campaign.
In 1998, after George Will wrote a column reviewing the allegations of corruption against her, Moseley Braun responded to Will's comments, saying that "I think because he couldn't say nigger, he said corrupt". She also compared Will to a Ku Klux Klansman, saying: "I mean this very sincerely from the bottom of my heart: He can take his hood and put it back on again, as far as I'm concerned". Later, Moseley Braun apologized for her remarks.
On October 8, 1999, President Clinton nominated Moseley Braun to be the United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Although her nomination ran into token opposition from her old adversary, Jesse Helms, and from the senator who defeated her, Peter Fitzgerald, the Senate confirmed her on November 10, 1999 in a 96-2 vote. She served in that capacity until 2001.
Moseley Braun announced her intention to run for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in a February 18, 2003 speech at the University of Chicago Law School, launching an exploratory committee for the presidency. She formally launched her candidacy on September 23, 2003. On January 15, 2004, two days after a disappointing third place showing in the D.C. primary and four days before the Iowa caucuses, Moseley Braun dropped out of the race and endorsed Howard Dean.
In November 2010, after Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley announced that he would not seek re-election, Moseley Braun announced she would run for mayor of Chicago in 2011. In early 2011, two potentially strong African-American candidates--U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and State Sen. James Meeks--left the race and endorsed Moseley Braun, making her the so-called consensus Black candidate. This came after a discussions between Mosely Braun and the other two candidates where it was decided that Moseley Braun, with her profile as a former US Senator, ambassador, and presidential candidate, would be the strongest of the three candidates. These discussions had occurred with the involvement of Chicago African American figures such Jesse Jackson and Walter Burnett Jr.
On paper, Moseley Braun appeared likely to be a formidable contender for the mayoralty. However, a horribly run campaign and an image damaged by scandals and blunders would relegate her to a relatively paltry finish.
Moseley Braun had several difficulties with her candidacy, including a lack of funding. She raised approximately $705,000, while Rahm Emanuel raised over $15 million. While referred to as the "consensus" African American candidate, she was not receiving much financial backing or from African American politicians and community leaders, many of whom instead backed Rahm Emanuel. Only a few of the city's African-American business leaders (including Elzie Higginbottom and John W. Rogers Jr.) contributed to her campaign. She also received $25,000 from congressman Bobby Rush. With a lack of funds, Moseley Braun only was able to air a single television ad, which she ran late in the campaign.
African American politicians and community leaders also did not provide non-financial assistance Moseley Brown's campaign effort. Moseley Braun's campaign also received no support from trade unions.
There was internal conflict within Moseley Braun's campaign organization.
Mosely Braun encountered criticism for accepting donations from individuals who had already donated the $5,000 maximum (which was instituted January 1, 2011 when the Illinois Campaign Disclosure Act went into effect)
Mosely Braun suffered from a poorly run campaign. Her campaign was plagued by gaffes, including missed interviews and an inability to give a sufficient explanation for her past financial problems. However, the most serious debacle came in a debate on January 30, 2011, when Moseley Braun accused another candidate, Patricia Van-Pelt Watkins, of "being strung out on crack" for 20 years. Van-Pelt Watkins had once been addicted to cocaine, but had been clean for 30 years. This attack on Van-Pelt Watkins backfired and was detrimental to Moseley Braun's own candidacy. Braun's campaign, which had never gained much traction, began to bleed what support it had after she made this attack, with many former supporters fleeing to support Emanuel instead.
Moseley Braun opposed an elected school board.
Moseley Braun criticized frontrunner Rahm Emanuel's tax proposals, arguing that they would fail to assist poorer Chicagoans. She also accused Emanuel of having numerous times voted against Congressional Black Caucus proposals that would have assisted lower-income families.
As a candidate, Braun put an emphasis on her governmental experience and her ties to the city's Black community.
On February 22, 2011, Moseley Braun came in fourth in the field of six, receiving about nine percent of the vote. In her concession speech, she remarked that her young niece could become the first female mayor of Chicago, despite the fact that Jane Byrne had already served as Chicago's first female mayor.
In the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, Moseley Braun endorsed Joe Biden. At the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Braun was responsible for announcing Illinois' votes in the roll call. After Biden's election, she made it publicly known that she was interested in being his Secretary of the Interior. She also expressed interest in holding some other role in his administration. Biden opted to nominate Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior.
In September 1998, Lauryn Kaye Valentine applied for permission to change her name to Carol Moseley Braun. Valentine cited the former senator as her hero and promised not to "dishonor [the] name". The change was made official. That December, however, Valentine put her name forward as a candidate for alderman of Chicago's 37th Ward. Before the election, a Circuit Court judge rescinded the name change, forcing Valentine to revert to her original name. Valentine was later ruled ineligible to run, as she was not a registered voter at the time because of her name changes.
In April 2007, Braun suffered a broken wrist when a mugger emerged from bushes near her front door to steal her purse. Braun resisted and fell during the struggle, fracturing her left wrist. The mugger was chased off by a University of Chicago student while his girlfriend called 9-1-1. Braun was later treated at a hospital and released. A man was later charged with the crime and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on July 11, 2008.
Braun's financial problems made headlines in October 2012 when it was revealed that her home was in foreclosure and that she had not made any mortgage payments for over a year. Before she was evicted, she sold her house for approximately $200,000 less than the amount she still owed on her mortgage loan.
|Democratic||Carol Moseley Braun||424,480||78.05|
|Democratic||Sheila A. Jones||119,372||21.95|
|Democratic||Carol Moseley Braun||1,020,805||54.32|
|Republican||Bernard L. Stone||795,540||42.33|
|Illinois Solidarity||Edward M. Wojkowski||62,968||3.35|
|Democratic||Carol Moseley Braun||557,694||38.3%|
|Democratic||Alan J. Dixon (incumbent)||504,077||34.6%|
|Democratic||Carol Moseley Braun||2,631,229||53.27|
|Democratic||Carol Moseley Braun (incumbent)||666,419||100|
|Democratic||Carol Moseley Braun (incumbent)||1,610,496||47.44|
|US Taxpayers||Raymond Stalker||280||0.01%|
|Democratic||Carol Moseley Braun||4,924||11.58|
|Nonpartisan||Gery J. Chico||141,228||23.92|
|Nonpartisan||Miguel del Valle||54,689||9.26|
|Nonpartisan||Carol Moseley Braun||53,062||8.99|
|Nonpartisan||Patricia Van Pelt Watkins||9,704||1.64|
|Nonpartisan||William Walls, III||5,343||0.90|
So it really shouldn't be a surprise the wide open field that appeared when Mayor Daley announced he would not seek another term brought about a relapse. 'A group of people came together to encourage me to run,' Moseley Braun told me. 'They literally took a vote telling me to get in the race.'
|url=value (help). The New York Times. Retrieved 2013.[permanent dead link]
|Party political offices|
| United States Senator (Class 3) from Illinois
Served alongside: Paul Simon, Dick Durbin
| United States Ambassador to New Zealand
| United States Ambassador to Samoa|