Pete Olson

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Peter Graham Olson (born December 9, 1962), known more commonly as Pete Olson, is the 2008 Republican nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Texas's 22nd congressional district.

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Personal life

Born December 9, 1962 in Fort Lewis, Washington, Olson moved with his family to Seabrook, Texas, a southeast suburb of Houston, in 1972, 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's in Computer Science. Upon graduation, Olson enrolled in law school at the University of Texas at Austin, and after completing the Texas Bar Exam in 1988, voluntarily joined the United States Navy, and served as a Naval Aviator, flying missions over the Persian Gulf following the Gulf War, among other places, before being assigned as a Naval liaison to the United States Senate, assisting Texas U.S. Senator Phil Gramm on military-related issues such as inspecting military installations.

Olson has only lived in Sugar Land since last summer. [1] 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.

As a Senatorial Aide

Under Phil Gramm

In 1998, Olson joined Gramm's staff to lead the Senator's work on military facilities in Texas, such as the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Ellington Field, and various other installations. He later assumed control of some of Gramm's other projects, including funding for NASA, the Port of Houston, the Texas Medical Center, and transportation projects such as Interstate 69. Olson opposes the current incarnation of Interstate 69, which since 2002 has been part of Governor Rick Perry's highly 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.

Under John Cornyn

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. Under Cornyn, Olson assisted in attempts to protect funding for NASA, appoint strict constructionist judges, and enforce immigration reform.

2008 Congressional race

In 2007, Pete Olson entered the race for Congress in Texas District 22. The heavily Republican district, which gave 64% of the vote to George W. Bush in 2004, was held by former House Majority Leader Tom 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.

At the same time, DeLay had also just won the Republican primary in his district against three opponents and faced a difficult challenge against former Congressman Nick Lampson, whose 2004 loss resulted from a controversial redistricting plan that made Lampson's district considerably more Republican. After Democrats successfully contested the Republicans' plan to replace DeLay on the ballot, the GOP resorted to running a write-in bid. Lampson defeated the Republican nominee, then-Houston city councilwoman Shelley Sekula Gibbs, by a ten-point margin. However, Sekula Gibbs won a special election to serve out the remainder of DeLay's term.

With Lampson seen as potentially the most vulnerable Democrat in Congress and Sekula Gibbs considered too weak to win back the district for the Republicans, Olson was among ten Republicans who filed to run, which also included 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.

In the March 2008 primary, Olson finished second to Sekula Gibbs. However, the two entered a runoff after Sekula Gibbs failed to gain 50 percent of the vote. In the April 8, 2008 runoff, Olson defeated Sekula Gibbs with 68 percent of the vote.

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