Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Sodrel grew up across the Ohio River in New Albany, Indiana, where he now lives. He graduated New Albany High School (Indiana) in 1963. In 1967 he married Marquita Dean; they have two children and seven granddaughters. Sodrel attended Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana.
From 1966 to 1973 Sodrel served in the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 151st Mechanized Infantry, formerly part of the 38th Infantry Division. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant. Since 1963 Sodrel has worked in one role or another at the family business Sodrel Truck Lines Inc. He founded The Free Enterprise System Inc. (a charter motor-coach/contract passenger-carrier) and Sodrel Logistics.
Sodrel served on the Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, Small Business and Science committees.
During his term, Sodrel expressed strong pro-life opinions and opposed partial-birth abortions and federal funding for elective abortions. He opposed additional environmental regulations. He has outspokenly supported the second-amendment right to bear arms. He has a 92 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, and a 0 rating from the League of Conservation Voters. He is in favor of permanently repealing the federal estate tax.
In 2006 Sodrel introduced a bill that would prevent federal courts from ruling on the content of speech in state legislatures. The proposal came as a response to a ruling by U.S. District Judge David Hamilton, the nephew of former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton, who had judged that official Indiana House proceedings could not begin with sectarian prayers that advanced any particular religion.
Sodrel has campaigned on a platform of creating and protecting jobs, lowering taxes and values He drives his own 18-wheeler on the campaign trail. He first ran for the House of Representatives in 2002, losing to incumbent Baron Hill, 51% to 46%. In the 2004 rematch, he defeated Hill by 1500 votes.
Sodrel faced Hill again in the 2006 general election. The Cook Political Report, an independent nonpartisan newsletter, rated the race as a toss-up.
President George W. Bush came to a Sodrel fundraiser in Indianapolis early in 2006, while his opponent gained help in Indianapolis with fundraisers from former President Bill Clinton.
Sodrel ultimately lost his bid for re-election by a margin of 45% to 50%. The candidates raised equivalent funds in 2006.
Texas millionaire Bob J. Perry gave more than $5 million to the Economic Freedom Fund, a 527 group, which included Hill as one of its targets for removal. The group paid for automated "push poll" calls attacking Hill. These calls stopped after action by the Indiana Attorney General.
In October 2007 Sodrel announced that he would run again in 2008 for the Congressional seat against Baron Hill, whom he defeated in 2004 but to whom he lost in 2002 and 2006. In 2006 Cook rated the race as a toss-up for the duration of the race, but in 2008 the race moved between Likely D to Lean D on the Cook Political Report. Sodrel's fund-raising was weak compared both to Hill and Sodrel's 2006 figures.
Hill defeated Sodrel in the election, 58% to 39%.
On January 11, 2010 at an event in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Mike Sodrel announced that he would again seek the 2010 Republican nomination for the 9th District Congressional seat. He joined two other candidates in the field of Republican contenders: Bloomington attorney Todd Young (a native of Carmel, Indiana) and Columbus real-estate investor Travis Hankins. A poll published by the left-leaning weblog Firedoglake shows Sodrel leading Hill 49-41 in a head to head race. However he lost the Republican nomination, coming in third place behind Travis Hankins and winner Todd Young.
Sodrel has served on numerous charitable organization's board of directors, including the Remnant Trust and as a past regional council president of the Boy Scouts of America.
Sodrel has made some statements that imply that there have been large changes within his company.
Sodrel is the author of an internet book, Citizen Sheep Government Shepherds.