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Deborah Ross (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Deborah Ross
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Preceded byGeorge Holding
Member of the
North Carolina House of Representatives
In office
January 29, 2003 – June 1, 2013
Preceded byBob Hensley (38th)
Grier Martin (34th)
Succeeded byGrier Martin
Constituency38th district (2003–2013)
34th district (2013)
Personal details
Deborah Koff

(1963-06-20) June 20, 1963 (age 60)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Stephen Wrinn
(m. 1994)
EducationBrown University (BA)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Deborah Ross (née Koff; born June 20, 1963) is an American lawyer and politician who has served as the U.S. representative for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district since 2021. Her district is based in Raleigh. A member of the Democratic Party, Ross served as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives from 2003 to 2013, representing the state's 38th and then 34th House district, including much of northern Raleigh and surrounding suburbs in Wake County.

Ross was the Democratic nominee in the 2016 U.S. Senate election in North Carolina, unsuccessfully challenging Republican incumbent Richard Burr in the general election.

Early life and education

Ross was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 20, 1963, and grew up in Connecticut.[1] She is the daughter of Barbara (née Klein) and Marvin Koff.[2] Her father served as a physician in the Air Force during the Vietnam era and her mother taught preschool.[3]

Ross earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University in 1985 and her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1990.[4]

Legal career

After graduating from law school, Ross worked for Raleigh-based Hunton & Williams as a tax litigator and municipal bond lawyer.[5] She taught at Duke Law School as a senior lecturing fellow.[6]

American Civil Liberties Union

Ross was hired as state director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina in 1994. She worked on First Amendment and juvenile justice issues. Alongside Governor Jim Hunt and then State Senator Roy Cooper, she overhauled North Carolina's system for dealing with youth offenders. In response to racial profiling reports, she also successfully encouraged state police agencies to collect race-based statistics for traffic stops. Ross stepped down from her position at the ACLU in 2002 when she launched her state House campaign.[1][5]


On May 1, 2013, Ross announced she would resign from the legislature in June to serve as legal counsel for GoTriangle, the triangle area's regional transit agency.[7] On June 1, 2013, Grier Martin was appointed to succeed her in the House.[8]

Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP

In March 2017, Ross joined the regional law firm of Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP in Raleigh. Her practice focused on the economic development, energy, utilities, and infrastructure needs of businesses and government.[9] Smith Moore Leatherwood combined with national law firm Fox Rothschild, LLP, on November 1, 2018.[10]

Early political career

North Carolina legislature

Ross was first elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in 2002 and defeated Wake County Commissioner Phil Jeffreys in 2004 to win a second term. She faced no opposition in the 2006 general election, and in 2007, Ross was first elected as one of the House Democratic Whips.

Ross supported the Equal Pay Act, an unsuccessful bill that would have banned North Carolina employers from paying workers differently based on gender.[11]

In 2012, Ross compared state coastal protection policies that ignore scientists' sea level rise forecasts to burying one's "head in the sand". She said she was concerned that increased risk of flooding would lead insurance companies to charge higher premiums for coastal property owners.[12]

2016 U.S. Senate campaign

In 2015, Ross resigned as legal counsel at GoTriangle to run for the U.S. Senate in 2016.[13] She won the March 2016 Democratic primary with 62.4% of the vote from a field of four candidates.[14] Ross was endorsed by EMILY's List, Planned Parenthood, the North Carolina Association of Educators, the North Carolina AFL–CIO, American Association for Justice, End Citizens United, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and the League of Conservation Voters.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][excessive citations]

In the general election, Ross ran against the incumbent, Republican Richard Burr. Ross raised more money than Burr for three consecutive quarters, but nevertheless had less cash on hand as Burr began the year with $5.3 million in campaign funds. As of October 21, Ross was down 2.8% in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. The race received national attention as The Cook Political Report rated the race a toss-up and Democrats viewed the seat as one they could win.[24] Burr won with 51% of the vote.[25]

U.S. House of Representatives



On December 2, 2019, Ross announced her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina's newly redrawn 2nd congressional district in 2020.[26] She jumped into the race shortly after a court-ordered redistricting cut the 2nd back to southern Wake County, including almost all of Raleigh. The old 2nd covered roughly half of Wake County, along with several exurbs south and east of the capital.[27]

Had the district existed in 2016, Hillary Clinton would have carried it with 60% of the vote[28] and defeated Donald Trump by over 24 points.[29] By comparison, Trump carried the old 2nd with 53% of the vote,[30] defeating Clinton by 12 points. On paper, the new map turned the 2nd from a Republican-leaning district into a safely Democratic district.[29]

With pundits suggesting that the 2nd was a likely Democratic pickup, Republican incumbent George Holding, who had represented much of the area for two terms in the 13th district before it was essentially merged with the 2nd in 2016, opted to retire. Holding said that the significantly bluer hue of the new 2nd figured significantly in his decision.[29]

Ross won the Democratic primary on March 3.[31] She won the general election on November 3, defeating Republican nominee Alan Swain and Libertarian Jeff Matemu.[32]

Democratic primary results[31]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Deborah K. Ross 103,574 69.9
Democratic Monika Johnson-Hostler 33,369 22.5
Democratic Andy Terrell 8,666 5.8
Democratic Ollie Nelson 2,677 1.8
Total votes 148,286 100.0
General election results[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Deborah K. Ross 308,458 63.03
Republican Alan Swain 170,376 34.81
Libertarian Jeff Matemu 10,568 2.16
Total votes 489,402 100.0


As of December 2021, Ross had voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time.[33] On July 1, 2021, Ross and Mariannette Miller-Meeks introduced the America's CHILDREN Act.[34] If enacted, the bill would grant a pathway to permanent residency for children who grew up in the United States legally but were blocked from obtaining permanent residency due to green card backlogs and other legal barriers.

Ross voted with President Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time in the 117th Congress, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.[35]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Ross and her husband, Steve Wrinn, live in a home that they restored in Boylan Heights, a historic neighborhood in Raleigh.[40]

Ross is one of three Unitarian Universalists in Congress.[41][42]

See also


  1. ^ a b Pathe, Simone (March 20, 2016). "Can This North Carolina Democrat Become the Next Kay Hagan?". Roll Call. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  2. ^ Who's Who of American Women, 1997-1998 Marquis Who's Who.
  3. ^ Burns, Matthew (October 14, 2015). "Ex-Wake lawmaker Ross enters US Senate race". WRAL.
  4. ^ "Deborah Ross entering 2016 US Senate race". WNCN. October 14, 2015. Archived from the original on January 8, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Campbell, Colin (September 30, 2016). "Deborah Ross' ACLU leadership looms large in US Senate race". Charlotte Observer.
  6. ^ "Deborah K. Ross". Indy Week. September 22, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  7. ^ "Rep. Deborah Ross stepping down". WRAL. May 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  8. ^ "Democrats pick Grier Martin to replace Ross in House". WECT. Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  9. ^ Douglas, Anna (March 3, 2017). "Former NC lawmaker, Senate candidate Deborah Ross hired at Raleigh law firm". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved August 2, 2023.
  10. ^ "Fox Rothschild LLP — Attorneys at Law". Retrieved August 2, 2023.
  11. ^ Leslie, Laura (April 9, 2013). "NC Equal Pay Act faces long odds". WRAL. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  12. ^ Harish, Alon (August 2, 2012). "New Law in North Carolina Bans Latest Scientific Predictions of Sea-Level Rise". ABC News.
  13. ^ Siceloff, Bruce (September 23, 2015). "Deborah Ross, mulling a Senate run, resigns from GoTriangle". News & Observer. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  14. ^ "North Carolina Primary Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  15. ^ "Christensen: Senate primary is quiet, but you can hear Ross stirring". News & Observer. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  16. ^ "Deborah Ross". EMILY's List. Archived from the original on January 15, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  17. ^ "Planned Parenthood Action Fund Endorses Deborah Ross for U.S. Senate Action". Planned Parenthood. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  18. ^ "NCAE Endorses Deborah Ross for United States Senate". North Carolina Association of Educators. Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  19. ^ "AFL-CIO endorsements include Cooper, Ross, Meeker". News & Observer. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  20. ^ "Deborah Ross Endorsed by End Citizens United PAC". End Citizens United. January 27, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  21. ^ "DSCC Endorses Deborah Ross in North Carolina". Roll Call. January 21, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  22. ^ "Democracy for America Endorses Tammy Duckworth and Deborah Ross for U.S. Senate". Democracy for America. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  23. ^ "LCV Action Fund Endorses Deborah Ross for U.S. Senate". League of Conservation Voters. Archived from the original on February 26, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  24. ^ Morrill, Jim (October 21, 2016). "Deborah Ross out-raises - and outspends - Richard Burr". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  25. ^ "North Carolina U.S. Senate Results: Richard M. Burr Wins". The New York Times. August 1, 2017.
  26. ^ "".
  27. ^ J. Miles Coleman (December 5, 2019). "Handicapping North Carolina's New Congressional Districts". Center For Politics.
  28. ^ Presidential results for reconfigured North Carolina districts via Daily Kos
  29. ^ a b c Mutnick, Ally (December 6, 2019). "Republican George Holding will retire rather than run in deep-blue seat". Politico. Washington, D.C. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  30. ^ Presidential results by congressional district for districts used in 2016, from Daily Kos
  31. ^ a b "NC SBE Contest Results". North Carolina Board of Elections. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  32. ^ a b Harris, Madison Hall, Grace Panetta, Margot. "RESULTS: Democrat Deborah Ross projected to defeat Republican Alan Swain in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District". Business Insider. Retrieved November 9, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  33. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  34. ^ "Representatives Ross, Miller-Meeks, Krishnamoorthi, Kim Introduce Bipartisan America's CHILDREN Act". Representative Deborah Ross. July 1, 2021. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  35. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron; Wiederkehr, Anna (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 15, 2023.
  36. ^ "Pelosi Announces Additional Committee Assignments for 117th Congress". December 18, 2020. Archived from the original on January 5, 2021. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  37. ^ a b "Committees and Caucuses | Representative Deborah Ross". January 3, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  38. ^ "Congresswoman Ross Secures Seat on House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology". Representative Deborah Ross. January 22, 2021.
  39. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  40. ^ Gordon, Greg (October 12, 2016). "Senate candidate opposed ending historic tax credits that had benefited her family". McClatchy DC. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  41. ^ Sandstrom, Aleksandra (January 4, 2021). "Faith on the Hill: The religious composition of the 117th Congress". Pew Research Center. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  42. ^ Roewe, Brian (September 29, 2021). "North Carolina rep urges faith leaders to speak up for climate initiatives". EarthBeat. Retrieved January 6, 2022.

External links

North Carolina House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives
from the 38th district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives
from the 34th district

Succeeded by
Grier Martin
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from North Carolina
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 26 April 2024, at 13:42
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