Jeff Bingaman grew up in Silver City in a family with deep New Mexico small town roots. His father was a science professor at Western New Mexico University, and his mother taught in the public schools. He graduated from high school in Silver City. After graduating from Harvard University, he earned a law degree at Stanford. There he met fellow law student Anne Kovacovich. After graduation, they married and returned to New Mexico, where they both practiced law, and their son, John, was born. Jeff was elected New Mexico Attorney General in 1978. In 1982, he won election to the United States Senate, and in 2006, was re-elected to serve a fifth term.