Capitol Hill love stories: 5 lawmakers who dated and married while in Congress

Capitol Hill love stories: 5 lawmakers who dated and married while in Congress
Democrats Rep Andrew Jacobs from Indiana and his wife, Rep Martha Keys of Kansas are among the lawmakers who got married while serving in Congress (Getty Images)

Lawmakers who fell in love in the halls of Capitol Hill

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Reps. Rich McCormick (R-Ga) and Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) are the latest in the line of lawmakers who fell in love during their time in Capitol Hill (Getty Images)

Reps Rich McCormick (R-Ga) and Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) made their relationship public after reports emerged that he had filed for divorce and had been seen with her recurrently. However, they are not the only couple who have met and fallen in love within the hallowed chambers of the US Capitol Hill. In a vocation that dictates a blending of professional and personal lives, the ruthless and yet, sometimes awkward lawmakers who collectively run the United States government often meet and find spouses at work. Some have even been involved in shocking love affairs that have shaken the halls of Congress. Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is known for playing matchmaker within his office, and Sen Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa), proudly stated last year that his office had facilitated 20 married couples. Additionally, a few House members have dated while both were in office before Reps McCormick and Van Duyne. Here are 5 renowned Capitol Hill love stories that saw the couple getting married.

1. Reps Andrew Jacobs and Martha Keys

Washington, D.C.: U.S. Representative from Indiana, Andrew Jacobs, with his wife, Rep. Martha Keys.
Representative from Indiana, Andrew Jacobs, with his wife, Rep Martha Keys (Getty Images)

In the early stages of their congressional careers, Democrats Andrew Jacobs of Indiana and Martha Keys of Kansas entered into matrimony, marking a swift union that endured only a year before the couple went their separate ways. Following her unsuccessful 1978 reelection bid, Keys transitioned to a role within President Bill Clinton's now-defunct Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Meanwhile, Jacobs continued to serve until 1997. The couple officially parted ways in 1981.

2. Sen Olympia Snowe and Gov John McKernan

Washington, D.C.: U.S. Representative from Indiana, Andrew Jacobs, with his wife, Rep. Martha Keys.
Governor John McKernan and Senator Olympia Snowe's relationship began when they were both in the lower chamber of the House of Congress (Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)

The relationship between Republicans Olympia Snowe and John McKernan began while they were both serving in the state legislature. They also served together in Congress from 1983 to 1987, with McKernan joining in 1983 and both representing Maine's two House seats. Snowe's tenure in the House lasted from 1979 to 1995. After McKernan became governor in 1987, the couple got married, making Snowe the First Lady of Maine while she continued to serve as a House representative. Snowe then transitioned to the Senate in 1995 and served until 2013. During their time in Congress, the couple had nearly identical voting records, including both initially opposing aid to the Nicaraguan rebels and later supporting such aid. Despite their parallel careers in politics, the couple remains married to this day.

3. Reps Bill Paxon and Susan Molinari

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New York Republicans, Reps Bill Paxon and Susan Molinari began a personal relationship during their term in the House of Congress before getting married in 1994 (Getty Images)

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, two influential New York Republicans, Reps Bill Paxon and Susan Molinari, were elected to the US Congress. Paxon secured a house seat representing the Buffalo area in 1988, while Molinari won a special election to fill her father's seat in 1990. Following their respective tenures in Congress, the two formed a personal relationship, culminating in marriage in 1994, marked by a memorable proposal on the House floor. “What she said was, 'Yes, I'll marry you, but get off the floor',” Paxon told the Associated Press. Subsequently, Paxon and Molinari transitioned to new career paths. They relocated to the Washington, DC area, where they raised two children. Molinari pursued a career in media, serving as a host for CBS before assuming the role of Vice President of Public Policy at Google from 2012 to 2018. Currently, she holds the position of co-chair at VERITY NOW, an organization dedicated to promoting equity in vehicle safety. Conversely, Paxon ventured into the realm of lobbying, representing various interests, including a stint advocating for Boeing, a company currently embroiled in a massive controversy.

4. Reps Connie Mack and Mary Bono Oswald

PALM SPRINGS, CA - JANUARY 05: Connie Mack (L) and Mary Bono Mack attend the 24th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center on January 5, 2013 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images For Palm Springs Film Festival)
Connie Mack and Mary Bono Mack got married in 2007 and separated in 2013 (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images For Palm Springs Film Festival)

Mary Bono, a California Republican, married singer Sonny Bono in 1986. Subsequently, she assumed the position of Mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992 and later secured a seat in Congress in 1998, a position she held until 2013. Sonny Bono, renowned for his involvement in the 'Sonny and Cher' duo, was elected to Congress in 1994. Unfortunately, his life was cut short due to a skiing accident in 1998. Following his untimely demise, Mary participated in the special election to succeed him, yet it was not until 2005 that Florida Republican Connie Mack assumed office. After Sonny's passing, Mary briefly became engaged to country music drummer Brian Prout and subsequently tied the knot with Wyoming businessman Glenn Baxley, in a marital union that lasted 18 months. In 2007, she married her colleague Connie Mack and took on the name Mary Bono Mack. However, the couple parted ways in 2013. Notably, Bono and Mack were the third married couple to concurrently serve in Congress. In 2012, Connie Mack failed to secure the primary for a Florida Senate seat, while Mary lost her bid for reelection to the House. An insider revealed to the Washington Post that their electoral defeats and departure from Washington contributed to their separation. Since 2015, Mary Bono has been married to former astronaut Stephen Oswald. Mack, whose birth name is Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV, entered into matrimony with international development expert Jennifer Key in 2018 and has since been engaged in lobbying activities after he departed from Congress.

5.  Rich McCormick and Beth Van Duyne go public with their relationship

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Texas Republican, Beth Van Duyne confirmed her relationship with Rep Rich McCormick from Georgia, in May 2024 (Getty Images)

Earlier this month, Republican Rep Beth Van Duyne publicly acknowledged her romantic involvement with married Georgia Republican Rich McCormick, affirming they are “happily engaged in a relationship.” This disclosure follows reports detailing the close bond between the two Republicans, coinciding with McCormick's ongoing divorce proceedings. Video footage from the March 7 State of the Union address captured McCormick displaying affectionate gestures towards Van Duyne, a behavior reportedly observed on multiple occasions. Witnesses have also observed the pair attending and departing late-night events together, with further accounts of them holding hands near the House floor. Van Duyne, in her statement, expressed admiration for both McCormick and his estranged wife, characterizing them as "incredible people" while indicating that the dissolution of McCormick's marriage had been a protracted process. “His marriage has been over for quite some time as I understand it, he's filed for divorce,” Van Duyne claimed to reporters, adding. “I'm single. We're both parents of adult children and empty nesters. We are happily engaged in a relationship and beyond that it's a personal issue.”

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