Pete Olson

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Pete Olson
Pete Olson official congressional photo.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 54)
Fort Lewis, Washington, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Nancy Olson
Children 2
Residence Sugar Land, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater Clear Lake High School
Rice University
University of Texas Law School
Profession Naval Aviator, Congressman
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 [1]
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 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[edit]

Peter Graham Olson was born in 1962 in Fort Lewis, Washington. In 1972, Olson moved with his family to Seabrook, Texas, a suburb of Houston, where he attended public schools, graduating from Clear Lake High School in 1981. Olson attended college at Rice University, where he played college basketball his freshman year; he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science in 1985. He subsequently attended law school at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving his J.D. and being admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1988.[1] He joined the United States Navy after graduating from law school 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. 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.[citation needed] He served in the Navy for nine years.

Early political career[edit]

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[edit]



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 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% of the vote in 2004.[citation needed]

Due to 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, opined 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][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, Texas 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.[19][20]

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.[21] 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.[22] Olson and Lampson agreed to a debate of the issues on October 20, 2008 in Rosenberg, Texas.

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, outgoing 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. In the November 2008 election, Olson defeated Lampson with 53 percent of the vote to Lampson's 45%. He won four of the district's five counties.[26]

Election of 2010[edit]

Olson won re-election in 2010 with 67 percent of the vote against Democratic challenger Kesha Rogers.[27]

Election of 2014[edit]

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). 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.[28][29]

2016 re-election[edit]

Olson won his fifth term in the House in the general election held on November 8, 2016. He polled 181,864 votes (59.2 percent) to 123,670 (40.5 percent) for his Democratic opponent, Democrat Mark Gibson.[30]

House tenure[edit]

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." [31] 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 Phil 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.[32]

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)[33] 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.[34]

On June 9, 2017, Olson stated during a radio broadcast that former President Bill Clinton had admitted to the murder of White House aide Vincent Foster and had threatened former Attorney General Loretta Lynch with similar violence if she did not drop an investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. When subsequently asked for evidence to support his claims, Olson said: “In my discussion about Loretta Lynch and Vince Foster, I took the accusations a step too far. I regret my choice of words.” [35]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus Memberships[edit]

Congressional 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, Johnson Caucus.

Electoral history[edit]

Texas's 22nd congressional district: 2008–2016 results[36]
Year Republican Votes Pct Democratic Votes Pct Libertarian Party Votes Pct Green Party Votes Pct
2008 Pete Olson 161,600 51% 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%
2012 Pete Olson 160,668 64% Kesha Rogers 80,203 32% Steven Susman Libertarian 5,986 2% Don Cook Green 4,054 2%
2014 Pete Olson 100,861 67% Frank Briscoe 47,844 32% Rob Lapham Libertarian 2,861 2%
2016 Pete Olson 181,864 60% Mark Gibson 123,679 40%

Personal life[edit]

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


  1. ^ "MR. PETER G. OLSON". Find a Lawyer. State Bar of Texas. Retrieved February 26, 2017. 
  2. ^ Eaton, Leslie (July 21, 2008). "GOP Goes on Offensive For DeLay's Old Seat". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 10, 2008. 
  3. ^ Gamboa, Suzanne. "Olson upends Lampson in closely watched race". Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 8, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2008. 
  4. ^ "U.S. House, Texas 22, Results by District". CNN. Retrieved November 5, 2008. 
  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 May 25, 2008. 
  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 October 28, 2008. 
  8. ^ Thurlkill, Jason (October 27, 2008). "Houston Chronicle/Zogby: Olson has 17 point lead over Lampson, Culberson holding off Skelly". Retrieved October 28, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Houston Politics" (PDF). Zogby International. Houston Chronicle. October 22, 2008. Retrieved October 28, 2008. 
  10. ^ Sabato, Larry (October 30, 2008). "The Last Word – Almost". Rassamussen Reports. Retrieved October 30, 2008. 
  11. ^ Rothenberg, Stuart (June 22, 2007). "Texas 22: Top of the List". The Rothenberg Political Report. 30 (12). Retrieved May 25, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Hot House Races in 2008". Retrieved May 25, 2008. 
  13. ^ Blake, Aaron (April 8, 2008). "Olson tops Sekula Gibbs in Texas runoff". The Hill. Retrieved June 7, 2008. '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.' 
  14. ^ Gilman, Todd (May 11, 2008). "Clinton supporter's plan to stay quiet ends loudly". Dallas Morning News. 
  15. ^ "2008 Republican Party Primary Election Returns". Texas Secretary of State's Office. Archived from the original on March 13, 2008. Retrieved March 6, 2008. 
  16. ^ Bernstein, Alan (March 5, 2008). "Congressional District 22: Sekula Gibbs, Olson set up runoff battle for House seat". Houston Chronicle. 
  17. ^ "Olson Wins Run-Off Elections". Fox 26. April 8, 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2008. 
  18. ^ Bernstein, Alan (March 6, 2008). "A congressional chorus backs Olson in 22nd District runoff". Texas on the Potomac. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 25, 2008. 
  19. ^ Blake, Aaron (April 8, 2008). "Olson tops Sekula Gibbs in Texas runoff". The Hill. Retrieved June 7, 2008. '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.' 
  20. ^ Kraushaar, Josh (April 8, 2008). "Olson Wins Texas Runoff, Will Face Lampson". CBS News. Retrieved May 25, 2008. 
  21. ^ Wyman, Hastings (May 26, 2008). "Dixie’s Competitive Congressional Districts". Southern Political Report. Internet News Agency. Retrieved June 4, 2008. 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. 
  22. ^ Cillizza, Chris (June 20, 2008). "The Line: Generic Ballot Distress for House GOP". Washington Post. Retrieved June 25, 2008. 
  23. ^ Bernstein, Alan (June 5, 2008). "Cheney to raise funds in Houston for Olson, state GOP". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 6, 2008. 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. 
  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 June 4, 2008. [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. 
  25. ^ Wilson, Reid (June 6, 2008). "Strategy Memo: Obama's The Boss". Politics Nation. RealClearPolitics. Retrieved June 7, 2008. 
  26. ^ Texas House results by county,; accessed 18 January 2017.
  27. ^ "State Results – Election Center 2010 – Elections & Politics from". CNN. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Frank "Chip" Briscoe: Texan, preservationist, activist". Architectural Record. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Ex-DA Frank Briscoe, legal heavyweight for decades, dies at 84, January 5, 2011". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 9, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Election Results". Texas Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  31. ^ Eaton, Leslie (July 21, 2008). "GOP Goes on Offensive For DeLay's Old Seat". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 10, 2008. 
  32. ^ Olson profile,; accessed January 18, 2017.
  33. ^ "Twenty House Republicans call for Holder impeachment",, November 13, 2014.
  34. ^ "House Republicans Want To Impeach Eric Holder For Refusing To Defend Unconstitutional Law",; retrieved November 17, 2013.
  35. ^
  36. ^ "2008 General Election Results". Secretary of State. State of Texas. November 4, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008. [dead link]

External links[edit]

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

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