Arnold Vinick served as the Senior Senator from California and was the Republican presidential nominee in the 2006 presidential election. He later served as Secretary of State under President Matthew Santos.[1]

He was played by Alan Alda.

Biographical InformationEdit


Early Political CareerEdit

After graduating from Yale and Stanford Law School, Arnold returned to Santa Paula to open a law practice for the community. Local townspeople had more in mind for their native son, however. Arnold was elected City Councilmember in the town’s first write-in victory. He served one term on City Council, overseeing numerous community projects, including the refurbishment of the California Oil Museum where he’d spent many afternoons as a teenager. Shortly thereafter, Vinick sought and won a seat in the California State Assembly. Throughout Ventura County, Arnold Vinick was quickly known as a forceful advocate for families, farmers, the environment, and his State of California.

United States SenatorEdit

When Arnold was elected to the United States Senate in 1982, he won with 6.9 million votes – the highest total for any Senate candidate at the time.  He has been reelected three times - 1988, 1994, and 2000.  He turned down Josh's offer for a role in the Bartlet Administration as U.N. Ambassador because he said that the President couldn't offer him the job he wanted..."his."

Skilled as a local politician, Arnold still applies his sense of humanitarian responsibility and his community values to the national arena. In his four terms, Arnold has fought to protect the rights of patients and to promote affordable healthcare for all Americans. He has worked to preserve the safety and stability of retiring Americans through social security and pension protection acts. He has continually supported agricultural programs, such as his "Freedom to Farm" initiative to protect the rights of small farmers against bureaucratic subsidies.

Committee AssignmentsEdit

Republican Presidential CandidateEdit


In November 2005, Senator Vinick announced that he would run for President in the 2006 Presidential Election. Prior to his announcment, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Josh Lyman approached the Senator with an offer to become United States Ambassador to the United Nations under President Bartlet.

During the primaries, Vinick had a difficult time winning states that did not support his pro-choice stance on abortion. However, later on in the primary season, Senator Vinick was able to clinch the Republican nomination defeating Former Speaker of the House Glen Allen Walken and Reverend Don Butler.

Upon becoming the Presidential Nominee, Senator Vinick contemplated naming Reverend Don Butler his Vice-Presidential Nominee. However, Butler absolutely refused to be on a ticket with someone who was pro-choice, thus leading Vinick and his staff to pick Governor Ray Sullivan to balance the ticket. Sullivan was a staunch conservative from West Virginia who, while pro-life, was not as ideologically entrenched as Butler was on the issue.

Arnold Vinick and Ray Sullivan on the Campaign

Vinick and Sullivan

Presidential DebateEdit

At the outset of the first Santos-Vinick debate, Vinick proposed that the candidates ignore the rules their campaigns agreed to and have "a real debate" without time limits on speaking. Santos, having shown a prior disdain for heavily structured political debates, readily agreed.

During the debate, Vinick tried to paint Santos as a typical liberal Democrat who would raise taxes to pay for intrusive big-government programs while still leaving the federal budget unbalanced. The Senator laid out a libertarian agenda, proposed tax-deductibility for health insurance costs, explained why he had voted for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, opposed a moratorium on the federal death penalty or any new gun control legislation, promised to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, and declared his strong support for nuclear power. He was heckled by a member of the audience for claiming that Head Start didn't work, but perhaps his most surprising comment and show of blunt honesty was his remark that he would not create any new jobs, saying that in a free society entrepreneurs, not the government, created jobs. Because Santos had just criticized Republican economic policy for relying too heavily on tax cuts, Vinick's continued insistence that tax cuts would improve the economy initially drew hostile laughter from the audience. However, Vinick's explanation behind the theory proved eloquent and logical.

San Andreo AccidentEdit

The most crucial incident of the campaign was the near nuclear meltdown at the San Andreo power plant in Vinick's home state of California just four weeks from election day. President Bartlet was forced to vent radioactive gases from the plant into the atmosphere and issue a large scale evacuation order for the surrounding area.

Although meltdown was avoided, the event still had a severe effect on the campaign. Vinick was a long-time supporter of nuclear power, a position that was summed up repeatedly on news broadcasts in a clip from the presidential debate where he repeatedly defended nuclear power as being "completely safe."

President Bartlet wanted to visit San Andreo, and standard protocol dictated that the President invite the state's congressional delegation to accompany him. Much to the chagrin of the Santos campaign, this meant that Vinick, as the senior Senator from California, would be able to stand by the President at the accident site. Some believed that this would allow Vinick to be "absolved" by Bartlet and provide him with an opportunity to appear presidential. However, before leaving for California, Senator Vinick publicly blamed the Bartlet Administration for maintaining lax federal regulations. This public slap in the face, combined with a spat with Vinick on Air Force One over the safety of nuclear power, led President Bartlet to refuse to make a statement blaming his own administration for the accident, thus thwarting Vinick's pursuit of absolution.

In addition, any positive publicity Vinick may have gained from the trip soon vanished when The Washington Post reported that while in the Senate, Vinick played a key role in furnishing quick federal authorization for the San Andreo nuclear power plant decades earlier. This revelation caused a dramatic turn of public opinion against Vinick, who until then had a rather substantial lock on the electoral college. He managed to regain some ground in a press conference following the near nuclear meltdown in which he provided compelling rationale that nuclear energy was still safe.

Election DayEdit

On his final day on the campaign trail, Senator Vinick criss-crossed his home state of California. He visited Riverside, San Diego and Santa Barbara to increase Republican turnout during the election. He ended his travel in Los Angeles to monitor the election results with his family.

Later that night, the Vinick Camapign was informed that Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee Leo McGarry had suffered a massive heart-attack and died. Upon receiving the news from Matt Santos, Senator Vinick expressed his deepest regrets for the campaign's loss.

In the final hours of ballot counting, it became clear that Santos' homestate of Texas, Vinick's homestate of California, and Nevada would decide the election. Texas went for Santos and California went for Vinick, leaving Nevada to decide the election. Vinick had proclaimed beforehand "if I lose California I'm conceding." After hours of counting, the state of Nevada was called in favor of Matthew Santos giving him a 272-266 margin of victory. Senator Vinick chose not to challenge the results and conceded the election.

Secretary of StateEdit

During the transition of the incoming Santos Administration, Arnold Vinick played with the idea of running for President again in 2010. That same day, Vinick was contacted by President-Elect Matthew Santos to consider taking the position of Secretary of State in Santos' Cabinet. Vinick initially believed this to be a media stunt on Santos' part. Later on in his office, his staff was able to convince him to take the job. After Santos' Inauguration, Arnold Vinick was unanimously confirmed in the Senate to fill the position of Secretary of State.

Question of FaithEdit

After the death of his wife, Catherine, Arnold Vinick frantically read his 17th Century King James Bible. In his search for answers, Vinick found himself in a state of disbelief about his own faith. He could not believe there was a God who told his followers that the penalty for working on the Sabbath Day was death. He was also displeased with the fact that the Bible did not advocate for the abolishment of slavery. In a private conversation with President Josiah Bartlet, he stated that President Abraham Lincoln could have received help from the Bible during the Civil War had it supported the cause of abolition. It is likely he is either an agnostic or atheist after mentioning he gave up struggling with The Bible in the same conversation with President Bartlet (although he could theoretically be a deist, too).



Work HistoryEdit

Political HistoryEdit


Arnold Vinick: The President can't give me the job I want.
Josh Lyman: Which One?
Arnold Vinick: His.

Other Edit

References Edit

  1. His character was based on Barry Goldwater and John McCain.

United States Congressional Delegation from California
Avery (D) | Vinick (R)
Webb (R)

Cabinet of President Matt Santos
Vice President   Eric Baker
Secretary of State   Arnold Vinick
Secretary of the Treasury   Rosenthal
Secretary of Defense   Swain
Attorney General   Oliver Babish
Secretary of Agriculture   Ed Keenitz
White House Chief of Staff   Josh Lyman
Ambassador to the United Nations   Nancy McNally

Preceded by:
Robert Ritchie
Republican Candidate for President of the United States
Succeeded by:
Last Candidate
Preceded by:
Lewis Berryhill
United States Secretary of State
Succeeded by: