Pete Olson

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Pete Olson
Rep. Pete Olson.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 22nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Nick Lampson
Personal details
Born (1962-12-09) December 9, 1962 (age 56)
Fort Lewis, Washington
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Nancy Olson
Children two children
Residence Sugar Land, Texas
Alma mater Rice University
University of Texas Law School
Profession Naval Aviator, Congressman
Religion Methodist
Awards Joint Service Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal
Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge
Website [3]
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service (USN) 1988–1997
(USNR) 1997–2009
Rank Lieutenant Commander Insignia of Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy

Peter Graham "Pete" Olson (born December 9, 1962) is the U.S. Representative for Texas's 22nd congressional district, serving since 2009. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district includes much of southeastern Houston, as well as most of the city's southern suburbs such as Pearland and Sugar Land.

Early life, education, and military service

Peter Graham Olson was born on December 9, 1962, in Fort Lewis, Washington. In 1972, Olson moved with his family to Seabrook, Texas,[1] 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.[1] Upon graduation, Olson enrolled in law school at the University of Texas at Austin. He completed the Texas Bar Exam in 1988 and joined the United States Navy.

Olson 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 as a P-3C Orion pilot, post-Gulf War, he flew missions over the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific.[1] In 1994, he was assigned as a Naval liaison to the United States Senate, during which time he assisted Republican U.S. Senator Phil Gramm on several overseas trips.[1]

Early political career

After leaving active military duty, he joined Senator Gramm's staff in 1998. After Gramm's retirement from the 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.[2]

U.S. House of Representatives



Olson defeated incumbent Democratic Representative Nick Lampson in the general election on November 4, 2008. Olson received 53% of the vote and Lampson received 45%.[3][4] Olson had won the Republican nomination by defeating former Congresswoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs in the April 8, 2008, run-off election.[5][6] Democratic candidate 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.

An October 22, 2008, poll by John Zogby and The Houston Chronicle stated that Olson had a 17- point lead over Lampson.[7][8][9] On October 30, 2008, Larry Sabato predicted in the Crystal Ball that Olson's congressional race would be a race that would be a "Republican Pick Up."[10]

Lampson was considered the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in the House because of the heavily Republican tilt of the district. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+15, it was the fourth most Republican district in the nation to be represented by a Democratic representative. U.S. President George W. Bush carried the 22nd with 64 percent of the vote in 2004.[citation needed]

Because of the 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".[11] After Olson was nominated, the website identified his campaign as "probably the GOP's best pickup opportunity for 2008."[12] 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."[13] Olson is expected to be well funded.[14]

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 30%. Olson finished second, with 21%. 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.[15][16] Sekula-Gibbs criticized Olson as "a Washington insider ... [who] moved here just six months ago to run."[17] Nevertheless, 12 of Texas' 19 Republican congressmen endorsed Olson in the primary.[18]

Olson won the April 8 runoff in a rout with 69 percent of the vote to Sekula-Gibbs' 31 percent.[13][19]

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. Hastings Wyman's Southern Political Report placed the race on its watch list because the roots of the district are solidly Republican, and Lampson won the seat with only 52 percent against a write-in candidate.[20]

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.[21]

Olson and Lampson agreed to a debate of the issues on October 20, 2008, in Rosenberg, Texas.[22]

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.[23]

On June 5, 2008, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Houston to raise money for Olson's congressional campaign.[24][25] The event took place at the home of Houston billionaire Dan Duncan.

From July 1 to September 30, 2008, Olson raised more money than Lampson, $312,700 to $149,000.[26]

In the November 2008 election, Olson defeated Lampson with 53 percent of the vote to Lampson's 45 percent. He won four of the district's five counties.[27]

Election of 2010

Olson won re-election in 2010 with 67 percent of the vote against Democratic challenger Kesha Rogers,[28] who on May 27, 2014, is a Democratic runoff election contestant for the U.S. Senate seat held by Olson's former employer, Republican John Cornyn, who seeks a third term in the November 4 general election.

House tenure

During the 2008 campaign, Olson claimed 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." [2] 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.

On July 24, 2013, Olson voted to continue funding NSA surveillance.[29]

In mid-November 2013, Olson led a group of 19 other Republican congressmen in an effort to impeach Attorney General Eric Holder, charging that Holder had refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in 2011 and that he had failed to enforce laws defending the Defense of Marriage Act (which had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court)[30] or mandatory minimum sentencing for low-level drug offenders. Olson also charged that Holder had failed to enforce the Controlled Substances Act by not suing Washington and Colorado for deciding to regulate rather than criminalize marijuana.[31]

Committee assignments

Caucus Memberships

Constitution Caucus, Aerospace Caucus, General Aviation Caucus, Coal Caucus, Balanced Budget Amendment Caucus, Natural Gas Caucus, National Guard and Reserve Caucus, Beef Caucus, Gulf Coast Caucus, Cystic Fibrosis Caucus, Taiwan Caucus, Ports to Plains Caucus, Diabetes Caucus, Rice Caucus

Election of 2014

In the November 4 general election, Briscoe polled 3,377 votes (53.2 percent) to defeat his intraparty rival, Mark Gibson, who received 2,967 votes (46.8 percent).[32] Briscoe is a son of the late Harris County District Attorney Frank Briscoe, who was twice defeated in a bid for mayor of Houston and lost the 1966 race in Texas' 7th congressional district to future President George Herbert Walker Bush. He is a cousin of the late Governor Dolph Briscoe.[33][34]

Electoral history

Texas's 22nd congressional district: 2008–2010 results[35]
Year Republican Votes Pct Democratic Votes Pct Libertarian Party Votes Pct
2008 Pete Olson 161,600 52% Nick Lampson 139,879 45% John Wieder Libertarian 6,823 2%
2010 Pete Olson 140,537 67% Kesha Rogers 62,082 30% Steven Susman Libertarian 5,538 3%

Personal life

Olson lives in Sugar Land with his wife Nancy and their two children, Kate and Grant, and their dog Riley.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Pete Olson — Republican Candidate for Representative". Retrieved 2008-10-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  2. 2.0 2.1 Eaton, Leslie (July 21, 2008). "GOP Goes on Offensive For DeLay's Old Seat". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-08-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "WSJ_Eaton_20080721" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Gamboa, Suzanne (November 5, 2008). "Olson upends Lampson in closely watched race". Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. Retrieved 5 November 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  4. "U.S. House, Texas 22, Results by District". CNN. November 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Tolson, Mike (April 9, 2008). "Olson scores victory against Sekula Gibbs, He'll battle Democratic candidate Nick Lampson in general election for District 22 seat". Fort Bend County News. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Greg Giroux, "Texas GOP Runoff Goes to Ex-Senate Aide in Race for DeLay’s Old Seat", CQ Politics, April 9, 2008
  7. Anand, Easha (October 28, 2008). "Down the Homestretch: Texas's 22nd District (Democratic Incumbent)". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Thurlkill, Jason (October 27, 2008). "Houston Chronicle/Zogby: Olson has 17 point lead over Lampson, Culberson holding off Skelly". Retrieved 2008-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Houston Politics" (PDF). Zogby International. Houston Chronicle. October 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  11. Rothenberg, Stuart (June 22, 2007). "Texas 22: Top of the List". The Rothenberg Political Report. 30 (12). Retrieved 2008-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Hot House Races in 2008". Retrieved 2008-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 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.'<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "TheHill_Blake_20080408" defined multiple times with different content
  14. Gilman, Todd (May 11, 2008). "Clinton supporter's plan to stay quiet ends loudly". Dallas Morning News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "2008 Republican Party Primary Election Returns". Texas Secretary of State's Office. Archived from the original on 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2008-03-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Bernstein, Alan (March 5, 2008). "Congressional District 22: Sekula Gibbs, Olson set up runoff battle for House seat". Houston Chronicle.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Olson Wins Run-Off Elections". Fox 26. April 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Bernstein, Alan (March 6, 2008). "A congressional chorus backs Olson in 22nd District runoff". Texas on the Potomac. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Kraushaar, Josh (April 8, 2008). "Olson Wins Texas Runoff, Will Face Lampson". CBS News. Retrieved 2008-05-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Cillizza, Chris (June 20, 2008). "The Line: Generic Ballot Distress for House GOP". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-06-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Lampson, Olson Scheduled To Debate In Rosenberg At Chamber Event". June 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  23. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Wilson, Reid (June 6, 2008). "Strategy Memo: Obama's The Boss". Politics Nation. RealClearPolitics. Retrieved 2008-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Gamboa, Suzanne (October 16, 2008). "Money raising no clear indicator in House race". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2008-10-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  27. Texas House results by county, from MSNBC.
  28. "State Results – Election Center 2010 – Elections & Politics from". CNN.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "Twenty House Republicans call for Holder impeachment", The Hill, November 13, 2014, [1] Retrieved November 17, 2013
  31. "House Republicans Want To Impeach Eric Holder For Refusing To Defend Unconstitutional Law", Huffington Post, November 17, 2013, [2] Retrieved November 17, 2013
  32. "Democratic primary election returns (U.S. House District 22)". Retrieved March 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. "Frank "Chip" Briscoe: Texan, preservationist, activist". Architectural Record. Retrieved March 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "Ex-DA Frank Briscoe, legal heavyweight for decades, dies at 84, January 5, 2011". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. "2008 General Election Results". Secretary of State. State of Texas. November 4, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]

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

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tom McClintock
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Erik Paulsen