|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nebraska's 2nd district
January 3, 1999
|Preceded by||Jon Christensen|
January 29, 1962 |
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Lee Raymond Terry (born January 29, 1962) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party who has served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Nebraska's 2nd congressional district since 1999.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Terry graduated from Omaha Northwest High School. He then attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received his J.D. from Creighton University School of Law in 1987. He worked as a private practice attorney specializing in civil matters before entering politics. He was a member of the Omaha City Council from 1991 to 1998, and served for two years as president and another two years as vice president of the body. While on the city council, Terry advocated using private-public partnerships as a way to lower taxation within Omaha.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1998, incumbent Republican Congressman Jon Lynn Christensen retired to run for Governor of Nebraska. Terry ran to succeed him, winning the Republican primary with a plurality, 40%, in a three-way race. Attorney Steve Kupka came second with 30%, businessman Brad Kuiper came third with 27% and three other candidates took the remaining 4%. In the general election, Terry defeated Democratic nominee Michael Scott, a television anchor, by 67% to 34%.
In 2000, Terry defeated Democratic State Senator Shelley Kiel by 66% to 31%. In 2002, he defeated Democratic businessman Jim Simon by 63% to 33%. In 2004, he defeated Democratic State Senator Nancy Thompson by 61% to 36%.
In 2006, he faced his first primary contest since 1998, defeating Steven Laird, who had run against Terry in 1998 and taken 0.8% in the primary. Terry defeated him again, by 84% to 16%. In the general election, Lee faced Democratic businessman Jim Esch. In an election that saw Democrats make sweeping gains and re-take control of the House after 12 years of a Republican majority, Terry defeated Esch by just 55% to 45%.
In 2008, Terry faced another primary challenge from Steven Laird, defeating him by 84% to 16%. He also faced a re-match in the general election with Jim Esch. The election was concurrent with the 2008 presidential election. Nebraska is one of two states that uses the Congressional District Method in presidential elections: the winner of the statewide popular vote receives two electoral votes and the winner in each congressional district receives a single vote. As such, the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, heavily targeted the district so that it might be a tie-breaker in the event that the electoral college was tied at 269-269. The additional effort meant that Terry was even more vulnerable. CQ Politics forecasted the race as 'Leans Republican', The Cook Political Report ranked it 'Republican Toss Up' and The Rothenberg Political Report rated it 'Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic'. In response, Terry appealed to Obama supporters, dubbing them "Obama-Terry voters", and emphasising that he would work with Obama if he won the election. National Committees and outside groups spent millions of dollars on the race and supporters of Terry tried to paint Esch as a "liberal", a supporter of gay marriage and insufficiently pro-life. Ultimately, Terry was re-elected by just 52% to 48%.
In 2010, Terry faced another primary challenge, this one from Matt Sakalosky, a Tea Party challenger who accused Terry of being "insufficiently conservative". Terry refused to debate him and Sakalosky struggled to raise money but ended up taking 37% of the vote to Terry's 63%. In the general election, Esch declined to seek another re-match with Terry and so he faced Democratic State Senator Tom White. In a year that saw the Republicans make widespread gains and re-take the House, Terry defeated White by 61% to 39%.
Terry was speculated as a candidate for the United States Senate in 2012 but declined to run, instead seeking an eighth term in the House. In the primary, he emerged victorious with 59% of the vote. The anti-Terry vote was split between former University of Nebraska football player Brett Lindstrom, who took 23%, and University of Nebraska professor Jack Heidel, who took 11%. Glenn Freeman and Paul Anderson took 4% and 2%, respectively. After redistricting following the 2010 United States Census, Nebraska Republicans redrew the state's congressional map and made the 2nd district more Republican. As such, Barack Obama's re-election campaign did not target the district as heavily as they had done four years before. Polling showed that Obama was still competitive in the district and he ultimately lost it by 53% to 46%. In the congressional election, Terry faced Democrat John Ewing, the Douglas County Treasurer. Terry out-spent Ewing by four-to-one and Ewing, who received no help from national Democrats, outperformed Obama and lost by just 51% to 49%.
In 2013, Terry introduced a bill to grant approval for the northern portion of the Keystone pipeline to Canada.
When Terry first ran for Congress in 1998, he signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Limited Government promising to limit himself to three terms in office. After winning the primary and general elections, Terry reneged on his promise, saying that he had signed the pledge because "term limits is an important issue and that was the way I wanted to signify my dedication to the issue." He is currently serving his eighth term in the House.
On May 10, 2006, Terry appeared on the Better Know a District segment of the satirical news programme The Colbert Report. He expressed his long held support for alternative energy, specifically advocating the development of a hydrogen economy. Terry later teamed up with Stephen Colbert to submit an op-ed to the Los Angeles Times.
Terry is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act and H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. Poker rights blogger Rich Muny, a board member of the Poker Players Alliance, rated Terry "F" on support for poker rights. Muny also included him on his "Leach List"—a list of anti-poker Representatives who are projected to be in tough reelection fights in 2008 (named for former Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA), sponsor of numerous efforts to ban online poker).
In 2009, Terry was named one of the most bipartisan members of the House of Representatives by The Hill newspaper and was named a "heavyweight" in telecommunications and media policy in the 111th Congress.
Whilst running for re-election in 2010, Terry, who had previously been a strong supporter of privatizing Social Security, came out against it. He signed a pledge that he stated would, "oppose any effort to privatize Social Security, in whole or in part."
Terry was initially a co-sponsor and supporter of the Stop Online Piracy Act. Under pressure from internet campaigns, he later rescinded his support for the bill. Terry voted in favor of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a bill often compared to SOPA by its critics.
During the United States federal government shutdown of 2013, Terry refused to give up his salary. He was asked if he would continue to collect his paychecks and replied, "dang straight". He said that he needed his paycheck to pay for his "nice house" and his child's college education, adding that "we cannot handle it. Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That's just not going to fly." He later apologized for his statement and said he would put his salary on hold. Terry voted to pass a clean CR and end the government shutdown.
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
Caucuses and other memberships
- Impact Aid Coalition - Co-chair
- Republican Main Street Partnership
- Congressional Arts Caucus - member
- Spina Bifida Caucus
- Congressional Taskforce on Alzheimers
- Physical Fitness Caucus
- House Rural Health Care Coalition
- Humanities Council
- TRIO Caucus
- Meth Caucus - Co-Chair
- Rural Caucus
- Coal Caucus
- Natural Gas Caucus
- Hockey Caucus
- Intellectual Property Caucus
- Pro-Life Caucus
- Sportsmen's Caucus
Terry lives in West Omaha with his wife Robyn and their three sons, Nolan, Ryan, and Jack.
- "Obama Camp Targets Omaha: Obama Makes A Play In Nebraska, One Of Only Two States That Can Split It's Electoral Votes", CBS. Retrieved 9/27/08.
- Bratton, A.J. "Hundreds visit Obama's Omaha headquarters", Associated Press. September 10, 2008. Retrieved 9/27/08.
- "Senators To Campaign In Omaha For Obama", KETV. September 12, 2008. Retrieved 9/27/08.
- "Watch for Obama in Omaha in fall campaign", NBC News. May 27, 2008.
- "I’m Voting for Obama and Lee Terry", NBC News. October 12, 2008.
- "Is Obama-Terry the winning ticket in Omaha?", NBC News. November 2, 2008.
- "Is Lee Terry Scared Of Primary Challenger Matt Sakalosky?", New Nebraska. April 6, 2010.
- "Exclusive: Congressman Terry Won’t Debate “Tea Partier”", Nebraska Watchdog. April 1, 2010.
- Tysver, Robynn (January 9, 2012). "No Senate bids for Terry, Fortenberry". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
- "Nebraska G.O.P. Draws a Tougher Map for Obama", The New York Times. September 23, 2012.
- "The hunt for Nebraska's electoral vote", Politico. July 4, 2012.
- "GOP redistricting worked: Obama less likely to carry 2nd District in 2012", Nebraska State Paper. October 10, 2011.
- "Lee Terry unhappy with close race with John Ewing, but eager to work", Omaha.com. November 6, 2012.
- Hammel, Paul (February 13, 2014). "State Senator Brad Ashford to seek Lee Terry's US House Seat.". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
- "Neb. lawmaker fights to repeal health care overhaul". KETV Omaha. September 24, 2013.
- Pete Kasperowicz (May 3, 2013). "Cantor promises House vote to repeal Obamacare soon". The Hill.
- Jordan, Joe (October 13, 2013). "The Congressman and His Pledge(s)". Nebraska Watchdog. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
- Lee Terry; Stephen Colbert (August 7, 2006). "Pols for comedy, unite!". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
- Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777
- Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411
- Daily Kos, "26 Congressmen Who Are Too Busy Pandering to Focus on the Family to Solve America's Problems", July 9, 2008
- Masnick, Mike (January 18, 2012). "First One Down: Rep. Lee Terry Removes His Name As A SOPA Co-Sponsor". Techdirt. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- Congressman Lee Terry official U.S. House site
- Lee Terry for Congress
- Lee Terry on the Open Directory Project
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nebraska's 2nd congressional district
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority