Texas: GOP Delegation Gets Behind Olson in Runoff

Posted March 10, 2008 at 6:40pm

A dozen Members of the House Republican delegation are backing former Senate aide Pete Olson in his 22nd district GOP primary runoff contest with former Rep. Shelley Sekula Gibbs.

These Members, along with Sen. John Cornyn (R), Olson’s former boss, signed a letter last week urging political action committees to support Olson in the April 8 runoff.

“We believe the candidate best equipped to face Congressman Nick Lampson is Pete Olson, and we ask you to join us in supporting his run-off effort,” reads the letter, which was circulated by Rep. Pete Sessions (R).

Sekula Gibbs responded to this letter by releasing a “fact sheet” on Olson’s Washington, D.C., ties. She attempted to contrast her ties to the suburban Houston 22nd district while painting Olson as the candidate of Capitol Hill insiders.

Among the “facts” Sekula Gibbs notes in her press release are that Olson owns a home in Northern Virginia, that he has more support than her from Washington-based lobbyists and that he moved to the 22nd district six months ago to run for Congress. Olson did move to the district only six months ago, although he grew up there and lived there until he graduated from high school.

“Pete Olson is not a bad person,” Sekula Gibbs said in a statement. “It’s just that he should be running for Congress in the D.C. suburbs where he lives, not here in Texas where it seems he’s just passing through.”

Sekula Gibbs won last week’s GOP primary with 30 percent of the vote, but failed to garner the 50 percent plus one she needed to avoid a runoff. Olson finished second with 22 percent. The winner of the runoff will face Lampson (D) in November.

The letter’s signatories are Cornyn, Sessions, Rep. John Culberson, Rep. Mike McCaul, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Rep. Kenny Marchant, Rep. Sam Johnson, Rep. Kay Granger, Rep. Mike Conaway, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Lamar Smith, Rep. Randy Neugebauer and Rep. Mac Thornberry.
— David M. Drucker