One of five children, and the only son, of Italian immigrants, Pete graduated in 1950 from St. Mary's High School, Albuquerque. After gaining a degree in education at the University of New Mexico, 1954, he pitched a season for the Albuquerque Dukes, a farm club for the former Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team, but left baseball to teach math at Garfield Junior High in Albuquerque, 1955. Pete Domenici earned his law degree at the University of Denver (1958), and returned to practice law in Albuquerque.
In 1958 he married Nancy Burk, 1958. They have two sons and six daughters.
In 1967 he became the first Republican in 38 years in New Mexico to be elected to U.S. Senate.
Domenici is Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.