10 Things You Didn't Know About Chris Coons

He was sworn in November 15 to fill the Senate seat Joe Biden held for 36 years.

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1. Christopher Andrew Coons was born Sept. 9, 1963, in Greenwich, Conn., to Ken Coons, who worked in the food industry, and Sally Coons, a teacher. The couple later divorced. Coons was raised in Hockessin, Del.

2. In 1980 when he was 17, Coons volunteered for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign. He spent the summer after his freshman year in college working for Delaware Republican Sen. Bill Roth.

3. Coons received a bachelor's degree in chemistry and political science in 1985 from Amherst College, where he had helped found the College Republicans group on campus.

4. After studying abroad at the University of Nairobi in Kenya during his junior year, Coons made a shift to the Democratic Party. He noted in an editorial in his college paper that his time in Kenya was a reason for his switch.

5. He earned a J.D. from Yale Law School and a master's in ethics from Yale Divinity School in 1992.

6. Coons married Annie Lingenfelter in 1996. They live in Wilmington and have three children.

7. Coons worked as legal counsel for W.L. Gore and Associates, headquartered in Newark, Del., which created Gore-Tex fabrics and was founded by his stepfather's family.

8. He served on the New Castle County Council from 2001 to 2005 before he was elected county executive.

9. After state Attorney General Beau Biden announced he would not seek his father's Senate seat, Democrats nominated Coons to run. He was at first considered a long shot.

10. On November 2, Coons defeated Republican Christine O'Donnell in Delaware's U.S. Senate race.