Pete Olson: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pete Olson

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 22nd district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Nick Lampson

Born December 9, 1962 (1962-12-09) (age 47)
Fort Lewis, Washington
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Nancy Olson
Children two children
Residence Sugar Land, Texas
Alma mater Rice University
University of Texas at Austin
Profession attorney
Religion United Methodist

Peter Graham "Pete" Olson (born December 9, 1962) is the Republican Representative for the United States House of Representatives in Texas's 22nd congressional district. The district includes much of southeastern Houston, as well as most of the city's southern suburbs such as Sugar Land and Pasadena. He defeated incumbent Democratic Representative Nick Lampson in the general election on November 4, 2008. Olson received 53% of the vote and Lampson received 45%.[1][2] Olson had won the Republican nomination by defeating former Congresswoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs in the April 8, 2008, run-off election.[3][4]



Democrat Nick Lampson won in 2006 when the 11-term Republican incumbent, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was indicted. DeLay's resignation came too late for another Republican to replace him on the ballot, so Lampson defeated a Republican running as a write-in candidate. Because of these unusual circumstances, the race has drawn national attention. In 2007, Stuart Rothenberg called the district "arguably the best Republican takeover opportunity in the country".[5] After Olson was nominated, the website identified his campaign as "probably the GOP's best pickup opportunity for 2008."[6] The Hill, a leading Washington, D.C. political newspaper, stated that Olson's victory over Sekula Gibbs set "up one of the top House races in the country in a conservative Houston district."[7] Olson was expected to be well funded.[8]

An October 22, 2008, poll by John Zogby and the Houston Chronicle stated that Olson had a 17 point lead over Lampson.[9][10][11] On October 30, 2008, Larry Sabato predicted in the Crystal Ball that Olson's Congressional would be a race that would be a "Republican Pick Up."[12]

Personal life

Peter Graham Olson was born on December 9, 1962 in Fort Lewis, Washington. In 1972, Olson moved with his family to Seabrook, Texas,[13 ] a southeast suburb of Houston; and attended public schools, graduating from Clear Lake High School in 1981. In 1985, Olson graduated from Rice University, where he played college basketball his freshman year, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science.[13 ] Upon graduation, Olson enrolled in law school at the University of Texas at Austin. He completed the Texas Bar Exam in 1988 and he joined the United States Navy.

Olson has lived in Sugar Land since Summer 2007.[14 ] He lives with his wife Nancy and their two children, Kate (age 10) and Grant (age 7). He continues to serve as a Naval Reserve officer.

Military service; Senatorial aide

He served in the United States Navy for nine years. He entered the Navy in 1988, and earned his Naval Aviator wings in March 1991. After earning his wings, post-Gulf War, he flew missions over the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific.[13 ] In 1994, he was assigned as a Naval liaison to the United States Senate, during which time he assisted U.S. Senator Phil Gramm (Texas-R) on several overseas trips.[13 ]

After leaving active military duty, he joined Senator Gramm's staff in 1998. After Gramm retired from the U.S. Senate in 2002, Olson served as Chief of Staff to Gramm's successor, U.S. Senator and former Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, from December 2002 until May 2007.[15]

2008 Congressional election - Texas District 22


Background on 22nd District

The 22nd District Congressional seat was held by Democrat, Nick Lampson. Lampson won in 2006 when the Republican incumbent, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was indicted. The district had been held by DeLay for 22 years and was also previously held by Congressman and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. However, in 2006, DeLay resigned after coming under fire for ties to controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

During this time, DeLay had also just won the Republican primary in his district against three opponents and faced a difficult challenge against Lampson. Lampson had represented a Galveston/Beaumont-based district from 1997 to 2005. The Republicans wanted to replace DeLay with then-Houston city councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs on the ballot, but a judge upheld a Democratic claim that DeLay's resignation came too late to place another candidate on the ballot. This forced Sekula-Gibbs to run as a write-in candidate in the general election. In the general election, Lampson defeated Sekula-Gibbs by a ten-point margin. In a special election held on the same day, Sekula-Gibbs was elected for the balance of DeLay's 11th term.

Lampson was considered the most vulnerable Democrat in the House due to the district's heavy Republican tilt. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+15, it was the fourth most Republican district in the nation to be represented by a Democrat. George W. Bush carried the 22nd with 64 percent of the vote in 2004.

Because of these unusual circumstances in District 22, the race attracted national attention. In 2007, Stuart Rothenberg called the district "arguably the best Republican takeover opportunity in the country".[16] After Olson was nominated, the website identified his campaign as "probably the GOP's best pickup opportunity for 2008."[17] The Hill, a leading Washington, D.C. political newspaper, has stated that Olson's victory over Sekula Gibbs has set "up one of the top House races in the country in a conservative Houston district."[18] Olson is expected to be well funded.[19 ]

Republican primary race

In 2007, Olson announced he would run for the Republican nomination in the 22nd District. He was one of 10 Republicans in the field. Also running were Sekula-Gibbs, former Pasadena mayor John Manlove, former Sugar Land mayor Dean Hrbacek, State Representative Robert Talton, Senior District Judge Jim Squier, Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, and three minor candidates.

Sekula-Gibbs won the first round with 29.72%. Olson finished second, with 20.72%. As Sekula-Gibbs finished well short of the majority needed to win the nomination outright, Olson and Sekula-Gibbs advanced to a runoff in April.[20][21 ] Sekula-Gibbs criticized Olson as "a Washington insider ... [who] moved here just six months ago to run."[22] Nevertheless, 12 of Texas' 19 Republican congressmen endorsed Olson in the primary.[23 ]

Olson won the April 8 runoff in a rout, taking 69 percent of the vote to Sekula-Gibbs' 31 percent.[18][24 ]

General election race

Olson faced Lampson in the general election, and John Wieder, the Libertarian Party candidate. Many election experts considered the race one of the best opportunities for the Republicans to pick up a Democratic seat. The Southern Political Report has placed the race on its watch list because the district's roots are solidly Republican and Lampson won the seat with only 52% against a write-in candidate.[25 ]

On June 20, 2008, the Washington Post's "The Fix" commented on the Congressional race: "it's hard to see Rep. Nick Lampson (D) winning reelection. Lampson's slim hopes got even slimmer" with the nomination of Olson.[26 ]

Olson and Lampson agreed to a debate of the issues on October 20, 2008, in Rosenberg, Texas.[27]

In the November election, Olson defeated Lampson with 53 percent of the vote to Lampson's 45 percent. He won four of the district's five counties.[28]

Campaign finances and fundraising efforts

At the end of March 2008, Olson's campaign was technically in debt, with almost $128,000 on hand and a debt to the candidate, who provided a personal loan of $175,000.[29 ]

On June 5, 2008, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Houston to raise money for Olson's Congressional campaign.[30 ][31 ] The event took place at the home of Houston billionaire Dan Duncan.

Through three months ending September 30, 2008, Olson raised more money than Lampson. Olson raised $312,700 and Lampson only raised $149,000.[32 ]

Olson's campaign stance and issues

During the campaign, Olson stressed that he was a better fit for the district than Lampson. Olson told Wall Street Journal reporter Leslie Eaton that "I have conservative values, and he (Lampson) doesn't." [15] Indeed, not long after being sworn in, Olson joined the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of conservative House Republicans.

Olson opposes the current incarnation of Interstate 69, which since 2002 has been part of Governor Rick Perry's controversial Trans-Texas Corridor, a project Gramm did not provide funding for as a U.S. Senator. The previous incarnation of I-69 (which Gramm did fund) was slated to go through the current U.S. Highway 59 which passes through Houston and outlying suburbs such as Sugar Land and Humble.

Texas's 22nd congressional district: 2008 results[33]
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct Libertarian Party Votes Pct
2008 Pete Olson 161,600 52.41% Nick Lampson 139,879 45.37% John Wieder Libertarian 6,823 2.21%

Committee assignments


  1. ^ Gamboa, Suzanne (November 5, 2008). "Olson upends Lampson in closely watched race". Dallas Morning News (Associated Press). Retrieved 5 November 2008.  
  2. ^ "U.S. House, Texas 22, Results by District". CNN. November 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-05.  
  3. ^ Tolson, Mike (April 9, 2008). "Olson scores victory against Sekula Gibbs, He'll battle Democrat Nick Lampson in general election for District 22 seat". Fort Bend County News (Houston Chronicle). Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  4. ^ Greg Giroux, "Texas GOP Runoff Goes to Ex-Senate Aide in Race for DeLay’s Old Seat", CQ Politics, April 9, 2008
  5. ^ Rothenberg, Stuart (June 22, 2007). "New Print Edition: Missouri 6 & Texas 22". The Rothenberg Political Report. Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  6. ^ ""Hot House Races in 2008"". Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  7. ^ Blake, Aaron (April 8, 2008). "Olson tops Sekula Gibbs in Texas runoff". The Hill. Retrieved 2008-06-07.  
  8. ^ Gilman, Todd."Clinton supporter's plan to stay quiet ends loudly", Dallas Morning News May 11, 2008.
  9. ^ Anand, Easha (October 28, 2008). "Down the Homestretch: Texas’s 22nd District (Democratic Incumbent)". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-10-28.  
  10. ^ Thurlkill, Jason (October 27, 2008). "Houston Chronicle/Zogby: Olson has 17 point lead over Lampson, Culberson holding off Skelly". Retrieved 2008-10-28.  
  11. ^ "Houston Politics" (PDF). Zogby International (Houston Chronicle). October 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-28.  
  12. ^ Sabato, Larry (October 30, 2008). "The Last Word--Almost". Rassamussen Reports. Retrieved 2008-10-30.  
  13. ^ a b c d "Pete Olson — Republican Candidate for Representative". Retrieved 2008-10-26.  
  14. ^ Bernstein, Alan (March 29, 2008). "Runoff builds for U.S. House seat; Sekula Gibbs, Olson trade jabs about waffling, past residency". Houston Chronicle.  
  15. ^ a b Eaton, Leslie (July 21, 2008). "GOP Goes on Offensive For DeLay's Old Seat". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-08-10.  
  16. ^ Rothenberg, Stuart (June 22, 2007). "Texas 22: Top of the List". The Rothenberg Political Report 30 (12). Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  17. ^ "Hot House Races in 2008". Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  18. ^ a b Blake, Aaron (April 8, 2008). "Olson tops Sekula Gibbs in Texas runoff". The Hill. Retrieved 2008-06-07. "'Nick Lampson better find himself a flashlight because his reelection chances are quickly growing dim,' said Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, adding that 'Pete Olson has proven himself to be one of the top Republican challengers in the country and we believe he has exactly what it takes to win in November.'"  
  19. ^ Gilman, Todd (May 11, 2008). "Clinton supporter's plan to stay quiet ends loudly". Dallas Morning News.  
  20. ^ "2008 Republican Party Primary Election Returns". Texas Secretary of State's Office. Retrieved 2008-03-06.  
  21. ^ Bernstein, Alan (March 5, 2008). "Congressional District 22: Sekula Gibbs, Olson set up runoff battle for House seat". Houston Chronicle.  
  22. ^ "Olson Wins Run-Off Elections". Fox 26. April 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  23. ^ Bernstein, Alan (March 6, 2008). "A congressional chorus backs Olson in 22nd District runoff". Texas on the Potomac (Houston Chronicle). Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  24. ^ Kraushaar, Josh (April 8, 2008). "Olson Wins Texas Runoff, Will Face Lampson". CBS News. Retrieved 2008-05-25.  
  25. ^ Wyman, Hastings (May 26, 2008). "Dixie’s Competitive Congressional Districts". Southern Political Report (Internet News Agency). Retrieved 2008-06-04. "Tom DeLay’s (R) old district might return to its roots this fall, since first year incumbent Nick Lampson (D) won in 2006 against a write-in opponent by a mere 52%. Lampson is facing ex-US Senate aide Pete Olson, a GOP-establishment favorite."  
  26. ^ Cillizza, Chris (June 20, 2008). "The Line: Generic Ballot Distress for House GOP". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-06-25.  
  27. ^ "Lampson, Olson Scheduled To Debate In Rosenberg At Chamber Event". June 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-08.  
  28. ^ Texas House results by county, from MSNBC.
  29. ^ Bernstein, Alan (June 5, 2008). "Cheney to raise funds in Houston for Olson, state GOP". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-06-06. "Cheney, who has extremely low approval ratings in voter surveys and was criticized in former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan's new book, is more of an asset for Olson as a money magnet than as a campaigner, University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray said."  
  30. ^ Gillman, Todd (June 1, 2008). "Cheney could be charm or curse in GOP's bid to regain DeLay's seat". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2008-06-04. "[Cheney's visit is] not bad for a first-time candidate who's basically broke in his bid to unseat Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Stafford, though Democrats call it a sign of desperation."  
  31. ^ Wilson, Reid (June 6, 2008). "Strategy Memo: Obama's The Boss". Politics Nation (RealClearPolitics). Retrieved 2008-06-07.  
  32. ^ Gamboa, Suzanne (October 16, 2008). "Money raising no clear indicator in House race". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2008-10-25.  
  33. ^ "2008 General Election Results". Secretary of State (State of Texas). November 4, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008.  
  34. ^ Olson tapped for Deputy Ranking on Subcommittee Press Release. February 4, 2009. Online office of Congressman Pete Olson.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Nick Lampson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 22nd congressional district

2009 – present


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address