The New Members of the House
This article has been updated to reflect races that have been decided since the issue’s press deadline.
Bobby Bright (D)
Occupation: Former lawyer, mayor of Montgomery
A favorite of the Blue Dog Democrats, Bright upset state Rep. Jay Love (R) in a traditionally Republican district by running as a social conservative and highlighting his record as a fiscally responsible mayor.
Bright, whose mayoral elections have been nonpartisan affairs, was recruited by both parties for the race to replace retiring Rep. Terry Everett (R). After months of teasing, he finally got into the race as a Democrat in early 2008.
Bright ran as an anti-abortion-rights, pro-gun rights, pro-military candidate who splits with the GOP on the Iraq War and illegal immigration. Despite speculation that Bright would be a difficult sell in the Republican district, he defeated Love by about 1,700 votes. The Republican was criticized early on in the race for a negative primary and runoff campaign against state Sen. Harri Anne Smith (R), who eventually endorsed Bright.
Bright, on the other hand, won his primary with 71 percent of the vote. Throughout his campaign, he earned the support of different groups because of his reputation as a fiscally responsible mayor and for his background in criminal justice and corrections.
In addition to his three terms as mayor, Bright was a practicing attorney for 16 years and is a former chief counsel to the Alabama Department of Corrections. He is on the advisory boards of Auburn and Troy universities, where he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees, respectively.
According to a campaign spokeswoman, Bright is interested in serving on the House Agriculture and Armed Services committees.
The self-described Southern conservative has said that he is not going to Washington, D.C., to toe the party line, but to toe the line of the people in his district.
Parker Griffith (D)
Occupation: Physician, state Senator
Despite Republicans best efforts to flip the 5th district into their column, Griffith kept the seat in the Democrats hands, upholding a century-old voting trend. Griffith fills the seat of Rep. Bud Cramer (D), who served nine terms and helped found the conservative Blue Dog Coalition, which endorsed Griffith. Republicans had hoped to turn the conservative district red, but their candidate, businessman Wayne Parker, lost to Griffith by 3 points.
The race got highly personal, with Republicans hitting Griffith hard on his medical record, accusing him of under-treating cancer patients to increase profits. Griffith went on the defense, saying that the claims stemmed from a smear campaign that had been launched against him by a hospital where he once worked. Griffith tried to paint Parker as a corrupt lobbyist.
The GOP used the familiar tactic of trying to tie a conservative Democrat to more liberal national party leaders. A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee referred to Griffith as a closet supporter of liberals such as Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.). Griffiths anti-abortion-rights and pro-gun-rights stances seem to have been more effective with voters, however.
Griffith worked as a teacher before becoming an oncologist. While in the Legislature, Griffith established a statewide trauma care system and worked to expand early childhood education programs, according to the campaign.
He and his wife, Virginia, are involved in numerous causes in the Huntsville area. They have five children and 10 grandchildren.
Griffith hopes to serve on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Ann Kirkpatrick (D)
Occupation: Lawyer, former state Representative
Kirkpatrick had plenty of things working in her favor in her race for the open 1st district seat. Not only did she have a significant fundraising lead over her opponent, anti-tax activist Sydney Hay (R), as well as the financial support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, but she had the added bonus of running for a position held by yet another scandal-plagued Republican.
Rep. Rick Renzi, who holds the seat now, is scheduled to stand trial soon for charges related to an allegedly corrupt land deal.
Despite the generally conservative lean of the district, Hays candidacy failed to generate much enthusiasm, even among her own party leaders, who searched futilely for stronger candidates, further bolstering Kirkpatricks bid.
Democrats had high hopes for a Kirkpatrick victory she was included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committees Red to Blue program and was endorsed by EMILYs List. She also garnered the support of the League of Conservation Voters during the Democratic primary and was backed by several influential Native American groups during the general election campaign.
Kirkpatrick, a lifelong resident of the 1st district, is a former state Representative. Before being elected to the Legislature, she served as the deputy county attorney in Coconino County, then as the city attorney of Sedona. She supports immigration reform, including improved border control, and extending health care to all Americans. In the House, she is interested in serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Kirkpatrick has two daughters.
Duncan D. Hunter (R)
Occupation: Captain in the Marine Reserves
Hunters easy victory in his overwhelmingly conservative, San Diego-area district means he will succeed his father, retiring Rep. Duncan L. Hunter (R), when the 111th Congress convenes in January.
When the elder Hunter retired to run for president, several Republicans stepped forward to succeed him, but the younger Hunter had little trouble dispatching his opponents in the GOP primary. The general election wasnt much of a problem, either.
Like his father before him, Hunter is hoping to secure a spot on the Armed Services Committee. Such a move befits Hunter, given the fact that he spent the first half of his Congressional campaign on combat duty in Afghanistan as a Marine Reservist.
Hunter graduated from San Diego State University with a business administration degree. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, he was working in San Diego as a business analyst. After the terrorist attacks, he quit his job and entered the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School.
Hunter served two combat tours in the Iraq War before being honorably discharged and joining the Reserves. He and his wife, Margaret, have three children. Margaret Hunter served as the her husbands primary surrogate for several months while he was serving in the Middle East.
Jared Polis (D)
Occupation: Entrepreneur, former state Board of Education member
Polis, an Internet entrepreneur, has used his millions to strengthen the Democratic Party in Colorado, first as an activist donor and then as a political candidate.
With other wealthy Democratic activists in Colorado, Polis has given substantially through the years to candidates who supported abortion rights, gay rights and environmental concerns. Their money helped spark the Democratic revival in the state that began in 2004 and has proceeded steadily since then.
Polis won an expensive and highly competitive Democratic primary to replace Rep. Mark Udall (D), who ran for Senate. He faced off against Joan Fitz-Gerald, the former state Senate president, and Will Shafroth, the former director of the Colorado Conservation Trust. Shafroth got strong support from environmentalists and the endorsements of Denvers two newspapers, but the primary race came down to Fitz-Gerald, who had the support from organized labor and EMILYs List, and Polis, who put more than $5 million of his own money toward the cause and was on TV sooner than the others. Polis won with 42 percent of the vote; Fitz-Gerald got 38 percent. In a solidly Democratic district, the general election campaign against Republican Scott Starin, an engineer, was an afterthought.
Polis found success early in life, launching his first company while he was still in college at Princeton University. He joined his familys greeting card business, Blue Mountain Arts, as a sales manager and launched its online version, bluemountain.com.
He spent liberally to win election to a six-year term on the the Colorado Board of Education in 2000 and developed an interest in education issues, helping found two charter schools for at-risk teenagers.
Polis is the first nonincumbent openly gay man to be elected to Congress.
Betsy Markey (D)
Occupation: Businesswoman, former aide to Sen. Ken Salazar (D)
Home: Fort Collins
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R) eked out a victory with the lowest winning percentage of any Member of the House in 2006, but this year she wasnt so lucky.
Markey, a former regional director for Sen. Ken Salazar (D), capitalized on the gains state Rep. Angie Paccione (D) made against the socially conservative Congresswoman two years ago.
Markey and Musgrave were unopposed in their primaries, and Markey wasted no time getting the general election under way, airing her first biographical ad in August.
Markey got the support of key Democratic groups, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clintons (D-N.Y.) HillPAC, EMILYs List, the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund and others. Musgrave tried to cultivate a centrist image, downplaying the fight against same-sex marriage that made her a target of gay rights activists nationally. Partisans from both sides produced nasty attack ads: Musgrave-supporting ads accused Markey of using her connection to Salazar to gain government contracts and lying about her business to get grants, while pro-Markey ads questioned campaign contributions Musgrave got from Wall Street and oil- related interests.
Markey was born in New Jersey and moved to Washington, D.C., in 1978 to go to graduate school at American University. She stayed to work on Capitol Hill and at the State Department, where she eventually served as director of computer security policy and training in the Office of Information Systems Security.
With her husband, Jim Kelly, Markey formed Syscom Services in 1986; the companys Web site boasts it was one of the first companies to market a little-known product called electronic mail. They moved to Colorado in the mid-1990s, where Markey owned and operated Huckleberrys ice cream shop until 2001. She remained active in politics, forming the Northern Colorado Democratic Business Coalition and serving as chairwoman of the Larimer County Democratic Party. She began working for Salazar in 2005.
Mike Coffman (R)
Occupation: Colorado secretary of state
Coffmans election to Congress is another feather in the cap of his 30-year political career. The Republican has previously been elected to the Colorado House and Senate, in addition to winning terms as state treasurer and Colorado secretary of state.
Coffman replaces controversial Rep. Tom Tancredo (R), who made opposition to illegal immigration the cornerstone of his political career.
Coffman won an easy general election victory after a tough Republican primary, in which he competed with two well-known state Senators and with businessman Wil Armstrong, the son of popular former Sen. Bill Armstrong (R). Some Republicans grumbled that if Coffman was elected to Congress, Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter would get to name a Democrat to replace him as secretary of state, robbing the GOP of that key political plum.
Coffman is a graduate of the University of Colorado, and served in both the Gulf War and the Iraq War. He began his military career in the Army Reserve but later transferred to the Marine Corps. In the Gulf War, Coffman served in combat; in Iraq, he worked on a team that helped the Iraqis set up their electoral system.
From 1983 to 2000, Coffman owned a stake in a property management firm that he founded.
Coffmans wife served as then-Gov. Bill Owens chief counsel and now serves as Colorados chief deputy attorney general. Coffman has no children.
Jim Himes (D)
Occupation: Nonprofit executive, former investment banker
Home: Cos Cob
Himes won his seat by knocking off Rep. Christopher Shays, a practiced political survivor and the last remaining New England Republican in the House.
The district they fought over is among the wealthiest in the nation, including pricey bedroom communities for Wall Streeters on the front lines of the economic meltdown. Himes, himself a former vice president at Goldman Sachs, painted Shays as complicit in what he called failed Republican policies that produced the crisis. And while he embraced the bailout, which Shays also supported, as a necessary evil, he said he would work for stronger oversight of the financial services industry. Himes also promised infrastructure investments in the district, with a particular focus on working-class Bridgeport, the largest city in the district. To that end, he wants to serve on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
With money in the bank and the political winds at his back, Himes also counted on a golden résumé. A Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar, he left Goldman Sachs after 12 years to tackle urban poverty at a nonprofit. As a leader of that group, called Enterprise Community Partners, Himes worked on providing financial assistance to low-income families and financing construction of affordable housing units.
Himes experience in politics before making the race was limited to the local level he served as a commissioner of the Greenwich Housing Authority and as chairman of the local Democratic Town Committee. Despite the money spent on the race, a Roll Call poll taken three weeks before the election that showed him leading also suggested he was not well-known, with 40 percent of respondents saying they were neutral or had no opinion of him.
He and his wife, Mary, have two young daughters.
Alan Grayson (D)
Grayson scored two upset victories this year. The 50-year-old attorney first scored a come-from-behind victory over party establishment favorite Charlie Stuart in the Democratic primary, then went on to defeat Rep. Ric Keller (R) on Nov. 4.
Grayson played up the fact that he was described as waging a one-man war against contractor fraud in Iraq by the Wall Street Journal in 2006. Indeed, Graysons law firm filed dozens of lawsuits against government contractors on behalf of whistle-blowers who said the companies overcharged or failed to deliver promised supplies to troops in Iraq.
But Grayson also hit Keller hard, sending out mailers questioning whether he had family values after he divorced his first wife and married a staffer shortly after first being elected to Congress. Grayson also criticized Keller for mistakenly voting against veterans funding. It didnt hurt that Grayson also poured more than $1 million of his own money into the race.
Though Keller attempted to play up Graysons liberal leanings and ties to anti-war groups such as CODEPINK, anger with Keller ironically over his own vote against sending more troops to Iraq as well as his decision to break his pledge to serve only four terms in Congress, appeared to turn off voters.
The Brooklyn-born Grayson has an undergraduate degree and a law degree from Harvard University, where he also earned a masters degree in government. According to the bio on his campaign Web site, after being accepted to Harvard as an undergraduate, Grayson cleaned toilets, worked as a night watchman and then graduated in three years with high honors.
His bio also describes a colorful upbringing.
Alan grew up in the projects in the Bronx. He heard the squeal of the wheels of the elevated trains, every five minutes, all day and all night. At the age of 12, he took the subway to school, by himself. At the age of 11, a bully threw him under a moving bus. He lived, according to his Web site.
Grayson worked as an assistant for several prominent judges during his legal career, including both Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsberg before their appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Grayson and his wife, Lolita, have five children: Skye, Star, Sage and twins Storm and Stone.
Bill Posey (R)
Occupation: State Senator, realtor
Despite the Democrats advantage in so many other open-seat House races in the country, the 15th would be a long shot for any Democrat, and it was again this year, despite the retirement of Rep. Dave Weldon (R).
Posey easily bested Democratic physician Steve Blythe and two minor unaffiliated candidates in a race with little drama, beyond the fact that both Posey and Blythe graciously said theyd vote for the other if they couldnt vote for themselves. But Posey could afford to be gracious, having outraised Blythe nearly 10-to-1 in the district that includes NASAs Cape Canaveral.
Democrats thought they might have a shot at the district when Weldon first announced his retirement plans. But when a well-known county commissioner who had pondered the race decided not to run, Democrats were unable to find a strong candidate. Posey, meanwhile, cleared the Republican field fairly quickly, with Weldons blessing.
Poseys career started at the Kennedy Space Center, where he worked until the end of the lunar exploratory Apollo Program. Following that, he ran his own real estate business for more than 30 years. He also has been director of the Florida Association of Realtors and president of the Space Coast Association of Realtors.
Posey, 60, was elected to the Florida House in 1992 and to the state Senate in 2000. He chaired the state Senates Banking and Insurance Committee. In press accounts and campaign materials, Posey has advocated reduced government spending, more domestic energy production, the construction of a border fence with Mexico and legislation to immediately deport illegal immigrants.
Posey is an accomplished stock-car driver a political asset in his district.
Tom Rooney (R)
Rooneys win over Rep. Tim Mahoney (D) flips the 16th district back into the GOP column and gives Republicans a rare win this year over an incumbent Democrat. Mahoney largely won in 2006 because of former GOP Rep. Mark Foleys alleged indiscretions with underage House pages and scandal undid Mahoneys own brief Congressional career.
Despite the districts political leanings, Mahoney did stand a chance of pulling out a win in the race after burnishing his conservative Democratic bona fides for two years in the House. However, the mid-October revelations that he had multiple affairs and attempted to pay off one woman with hush money effectively doomed Mahoneys re-election prospects.
For his part, Rooney, whose family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, only got the chance to take on Mahoney after a prolonged and bruising three-way Republican primary fight that was not resolved until late August.
But Rooney was the toughest opponent Mahoney could have drawn in the race this year. Early on, Rooney got backing from the state and national Republican establishment, including Florida Gov. Charlie Crist; his former boss, ex-Sen. Connie Mack (Fla.); and the political action committee of the House Conservatives Fund.
Rooneys career path has been varied. After an early 1990s stint with Mack, he got his undergraduate degree from Washington and Jefferson College, and then pursued his law degree at the University of Miami. From 2000 to 2004, he served in the Army JAG Corps, and then he went on to become assistant Florida attorney general. He also served for two years as the chief executive officer of the Childrens Place at Home Safe, a nonprofit for abused and neglected children. Since 2006, he has been an attorney in Florida.
He and his wife, Tara, have three sons.
Suzanne Kosmas (D)
Occupation: Small-business owner, former state Representative
Home: New Smyrna Beach
Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff was the gift that kept on giving for Kosmas in her win over embattled Rep. Tom Feeney (R) in the Orlando-area district.
Having acknowledged that he took an improper golfing trip to Scotland more than five years ago on Abramoffs dime and that he is under investigation by the Justice Department, Feeney was reduced to airing an apologetic campaign ad that called the trip a rookie mistake. Kosmas aired ads attacking Feeneys ethical lapses and touting her record as a Florida Representative.
A week before the election, Feeney struck back in an ad stating that Kosmas supported drivers licenses for illegal immigrants and terrorists. It showed a picture of 9/11 terrorist Mohamed Attas Florida drivers license. But it was too little, too late in a year in which voter anger at the Bush White House, and Republicans in general, created dozens of competitive races in otherwise GOP-leaning districts such as the 24th.
Kosmas was aided by an uptick in independent and Democratic voter registration in the district as well. Though she did not outraise Feeney in the race, she remained competitive with the help of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The National Republican Congressional Committee pulled out of the race when it became apparent that Feeney would likely lose.
The 64-year-old Kosmas has been described as a moderate Democrat, and has owned her own Florida real estate firm for nearly 30 years. She spent four terms in the state House before being term-limited out of office.
Walt Minnick (D)
Occupation: Business owner, former President Richard Nixon staffer and Army lieutenant
Minnick is probably the only freshman Member who can count bunny ears among the political attacks he endured in his race to Capitol Hill.
One-term Rep. Bill Sali (R) was caught heckling Minnicks campaign director during an interview with a local television station in mid-October. He reportedly gave the cameraman bunny ears, interrupting the interview just days after the states largest paper, the Idaho Statesman, editorialized that Sali has not matured into the job of representing.
The contest was Minnicks second try for national office.
In 1996, he lost Idahos Senate race to Republican Sen. Larry Craig 57 percent to 40 percent.
Running as a bipartisan problem solver, the Boise Democrat publicly lauded Sen. John McCains (R-Ariz.) vice presidential pick, Idaho native and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. In September he released a list of 60 Republicans for Minnick, including prominent businessmen known for healthy contributions to GOP candidates.
As of late October, Minnick had raised $2.3 million, more than twice as much as his opponent, although $625,000 was from his own pocket.
After a brief stint as a lawyer, Minnick was a 1st lieutenant in the Army during the Vietnam War. In 1972, he joined the staff of former President Richard Nixon, where he worked until resigning in protest after the Saturday Night Massacre.
He has also served on the boards of two private colleges and is interested in seats on the Education and Labor and Natural Resources committees.
Minnick is co-founder and chief executive officer of SummerWinds Garden Centers Inc., the 10th-largest independent garden center company in the United States, and served 16 years as the president of Trus Joist International, an Idaho-based lumber company.
Minnick graduated summa cum laude from Whitman College in Washington state with a degree in economics and then went on to earn a masters from Harvard Business School and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He has four children, one granddaughter and one grandson.
Debbie Halvorson (D)
Occupation: State Senator
Halvorson pounded the pavement to beat Martin Ozinga (R), a concrete business owner, using her spunky campaign style and a $2 million war chest to flip a previously Republican seat into the Democratic column.
Voters in the collar counties southwest of Chicago knew Halvorson well from her 10-year tenure in the state Senate, including the last two as its Majority Leader. Halvorson was the early favorite against Ozinga, a political neophyte who joined the race after the Republican nominee, New Lenox Mayor Tim Balderman, dropped his bid, and she was the beneficiary of $1.5 million in assistance from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But the race tightened to tossup status in the late summer, only to move in Halvorsons favor again after the nations financial crisis hit. She replaces Rep. Jerry Weller (R), who is retiring after seven terms.
The 11th district includes some of the Chicago areas fast-growing counties and a heavy population of blue-collar and union workers, and has historically voted Republican. Halvorson highlighted her years in the Senate, where she sponsored legislation aimed at cutting prescription drug costs for seniors and advocated for affordable health care for small-business owners.
Ozinga slammed Halvorsons ties to Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), who has a terrible 13 percent job approval rating, and he campaigned as a political outsider. The argument prompted Halvorson to distance herself from Blagojevich and advocate for ethics reform in Illinois, but after news that Ozinga gave $10,000 in campaign donations to the governor in 2005, the Republicans argument fell flat.
Halvorson is a former Mary Kay cosmetics saleswoman who lives in the far south suburb of Crete with her husband and four children. Her stepson is an Army captain and was injured in Afghanistan. Halvorson has pledged to take up veterans issues in Congress.
Aaron Schock (R)
Occupation: State Representative
Perhaps the only bright spot for the Illinois GOP this year was in Peoria, where the 27-year-old Schock remained the consistent frontrunner throughout the race to replace retiring Rep. Ray LaHood (R).
At the age of 23, Schock was the youngest member elected to the Illinois Legislature, and he will now be the youngest Member of Congress. He pulled in the support of GOP heavies such as LaHood and former Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.), and collected $700,000 after a fundraiser attended by President Bush.
Already viewed as a rising star even before he arrives at the Capitol, Schock had a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., and established a leadership political action committee to support fellow Republicans this cycle.
Schock talked broadly about energy, taxes and health care and stuck to Republican talking points on the campaign trail. Democratic opponent Colleen Callahan, a former television broadcaster, criticized Schock for controversial comments he made suggesting the U.S. should sell nuclear weapons to Taiwan. She also saw a late-breaking opportunity when allegations surfaced that Schock backdated documents for his father, but neither mishap was enough to cut into Schocks lead.
The 11th district is also home to the state capital, Springfield. The district has been represented in Congress by two Republican leaders former Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen and former House Minority Leader Bob Michel and benefited from LaHoods tenure on the Appropriations Committee. Schocks commanding win and fundraising prowess may be rewarded with prime committee assignments, although he has not vocalized his priorities.
Lynn Jenkins (R)
Occupation: State treasurer
After beating the favorite in the GOP primary former Rep. Jim Ryun by about 1,000 votes, Jenkins managed to pull out a second come-from-behind victory. She ousted freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda (D).
Boyda took a seat in Congress in 2006 after beating Ryun 51 percent to 47 percent. That narrow victory in a conservative-leaning district made her vulnerable in this election.
In Jenkins, the GOP found a more moderate candidate than Ryun.
Jenkins highlighted her modest upbringing. She said in a campaign ad that growing up on a dairy farm, she learned important Kansas values such as being frugal and saving money.
Jenkins was elected state treasurer in 2002 and 2006. Previously, she served in the Kansas House and Senate.
Jenkins sat on the state Senates commerce committee and will likely seek a seat on the House Financial Services Committee because of her accounting background. She is also interested in the Agriculture and Armed Services committees because both are important to the state, a campaign aide said.
A sixth-generation Kansan, Jenkins graduated from Kansas State and Weber State universities with degrees in accounting. She is a certified public accountant.
Jenkins has been married for 24 years and has two children, Hayley and Hayden.
Brett Guthrie (R)
Occupation: Vice president of automotive parts manufacturing company, state Senator
Home: Bowling Green
Democrats saw a pickup opportunity in the race to replace retiring seven-term Rep. Ron Lewis (R), but even with a $1 million ad buy from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, it was not enough to persuade the districts conservative-leaning voters.
Guthrie is a three-term state Senator and United States Military Academy at West Point graduate same as fellow Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis (R) and he focused on economic issues and job creation throughout the campaign. Guthrie and his opponent, state Sen. David Boswell (D), were both against the $700 billion federal bailout bill, supported offshore drilling and offered cautious rhetoric on the Iraq War. Voters had a tough time finding much difference between the two candidates, but in this reliably conservative district, the Republican won out aided by a strong turnout in the district for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at the presidential level.
Boswell focused on the economy, criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement and distanced himself from the national Democratic Party. He asserted that Guthries automotive parts business sent jobs to Mexico, an assertion that Guthrie rejected.
Guthrie had a clear fundraising advantage, but the DCCC kept Boswell competitive on a financial level. This was the closest House race in Kentucky, though a SurveyUSA poll indicated a 10-point lead for Guthrie going into Election Day.
Guthrie ran uncontested in the May primary, but his predecessor, Lewis, had attempted to anoint his chief of staff as the heir to the seat. Guthrie, however, had the support of the GOP party establishment, including Sens. Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning, and Lewis candidate eventually dropped out of the race.
Guthrie is married and has three children.
Bill Cassidy (R)
Occupation: State Senator, doctor
Home: Baton Rouge
The Republican Party had dominated the 6th district for three decades before losing the seat in a special election this spring. But that power shift proved fleeting with Cassidys election on Nov. 4.
Cassidy beat two left-leaning opponents in the three-way race: Rep. Don Cazayoux, the six-month incumbent Democrat, and Michael Jackson, a state Representative.
Cazayoux defeated Jackson in the Democratic primary, 57 percent to 43 percent, so Jackson then ran in the general election as an Independent. Jackson, an African-American, complicated Cazayouxs re-election bid with his candidacy in a district where a third of the population is black.
Cassidy took advantage of the three-way race, highlighting his differences and touting himself as the only conservative in the race in campaign ads.
Other ads focused on his background as a physician. He is an associate professor of medicine at the Louisiana State University Health Science Center and teaches at Earl K. Long Hospital.
After winning a special election for a state Senate seat in 2006, Cassidy was re-elected a year later with 76 percent of the vote.
He was asked to run in this springs special House election but turned down the offer. He only opted to run in the general after seeing the seat fall to the Democrats.
Cassidy has expressed interest in sitting on the Energy and Commerce Committee, saying the panels areas of jurisdiction are important for the state.
He has three children with his wife, Laura, whom he met while at medical school.
Chellie Pingree (D)
Occupation: Past president of Common Cause, former state Senate Majority Leader
Home: North Haven
When six-term Rep. Tom Allen (D) opted for a Senate bid, six Democratic contenders jumped at the chance to compete in the party primary. Pingree emerged from that contest and is now Maines first Democratic Congresswoman.
Previously a farmer, a small-business owner and the author of five knitting books, Pingree began her political career in 1980 as a tax assessor in North Haven, her island home of 350 residents.
In 1991, Pingree widened her scope and successfully ran against a GOP incumbent in the Maine Senate, where she served four terms. Pingree became Majority Leader in 1996 and held the post until 2000, when she left office because of term limits.
Pingree touted her efforts taking on the pharmaceutical lobby during her tenure in the state Senate. In her last session, Pingree sponsored a prescription-drug-pricing bill that sparked a U.S. Supreme Court legal fight and became a model for states working to lower drug costs.
In 2002, Pingree unsuccessfully challenged Republican Sen. Susan Collins, basing much of her campaign on her opposition to the Iraq War.
From 2003 to 2007, Pingree was president and chief executive officer of Common Cause, the 300,000-member good-government group. She stepped down in February 2007 to run for Congress.
Pingree is divorced and has three children; the oldest, Hannah Pingree, is the Majority Leader of the Maine House of Representatives.
Pingrees spokesman said she hopes to land a seat on the Armed Services Committee.
Frank Kratovil (D)
Occupation: Queen Annes County states attorney
With endorsements from both Democrats and Republicans, Kratovil was was neck and neck at press time with his opponent, state Sen. Andy Harris (R), with each garnering 49 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press.
Kratovil would be just the third Democratic Congressman to represent the right-leaning Eastern Shore district since 1947.
The general election was fraught with cross-party sniping due to Harris victory in Februarys Republican primary over incumbent Rep. Wayne Gilchrest.
In the primary, Gilchrest was characterized as too liberal on a number of issues, particularly the war in Iraq. He was one of only two Republicans to vote in favor of a timeline for withdrawal.
Kratovil tried to portray himself as a moderate and the natural heir to Gilchrest, who endorsed the Democrat and lent staffers to Kratovils campaign.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee invested more than $1 million in Kratovils district. But Kratovil toiled throughout his campaign to work with Democrats while also appealing to district Republicans.
He is interested in serving on the Agriculture Committee because of the industrys prominence in the district, as well as the Judiciary Committee because of his background as a prosecutor.
He is serving his second term as states attorney for Queen Annes County, and was the youngest in the state when he was elected at the age of 34. Previously, Kratovil was the president of the Maryland States Attorneys Association and was an assistant states attorney in Prince Georges County.
He graduated from Western Maryland College and received a law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Kratovil has been married for 15 years to his wife, Kimberly, and has four sons.
Mark Schauer (D)
Occupation: State Senate Minority Leader
Home: Battle Creek
After his defeat of Rep. Tim Walberg (R), Schauer will want the third time to be a charm. In each of the past three election cycles, a new Congressman was elected in the 7th district. It is also the first time in 15 years that a Democrat has held the seat.
The Bush administrations declining approval ratings certainly helped sway the district. Schauer repeatedly sought to tie Walberg to Bush throughout the campaign. On the other side, Walberg aimed to connect Schauer with documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, a Michigan native. They share radical liberal views and are dangerous, a Walberg campaign ad said.
The main campaign issues focused on improving the districts economy and increasing jobs. Schauer particularly focused on working to stop jobs from being outsourced in a number of his campaign ads, concentrating on his record in the state Senate. Michigan has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Both candidates expressed opposition to the economic bailout legislation passed by Congress.
Throughout the campaign, Walberg repeatedly slammed Schauer on voting to raise taxes.
The anti-tax, small-government group Club for Growth supported Walberg this year as well as in 2006, when he ousted then-Rep. Joe Schwarz (R) in a nasty battle. Tired of the repeated attacks, Schwarz crossed party lines and endorsed Schauer.
Schauer has yet to express interest in any specific House committees.
Schauer is currently the Minority Leader in the Michigan state Senate. He received his undergraduate degree at Albion College and graduated from Western Michigan University with a masters degree in public administration. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University.
Schauer has a wife, Christine, and three stepchildren.
Gary Peters (D)
Occupation: State lottery commissioner, former state Senator, professor
Home: Bloomfield Township
Peters beat the formerly invincible eight-term Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R) fairly handily on Election Day.
The first sign that Knollenberg could be in any kind of trouble was when he took just 52 percent of the vote against a badly underfunded Democratic challenger, Nancy Skinner, in 2006. Skinner sought the Democratic nomination again this year, but party leaders recruited, and clearly preferred, Peters.
The district has been a battleground in presidential elections, but GOP nominee Sen. John McCains (Ariz.) decision to ditch Michigan in October undoubtedly hurt Knollenbergs campaign.
The Peters campaign opted to connect Knollenberg to the Bush administration and with Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin during the final days of the campaign. One campaign news release said that he and the Alaska governor were two peas in a pod of delusion.
Both sides focused significantly on the economy throughout the campaign. Michigan has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and has been in a recession for years.
Peters highlighted his record of voting for tax cuts when he was in the state Senate. However, Knollenberg criticized Peters for not taking a position on the bailout vote before Congress this fall. Knollenberg initially opposed it, but voted in support of the second version.
Knollenberg tended to vote fiscally conservative, but was generally a moderate Republican in Congress. Peters said he decided to run because Knollenberg lost touch with the people and spends more time protecting special interests than Michigan jobs.
Peters was a state Senator from 1995 to 2002. He is also a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve and served in the Persian Gulf and overseas after 9/11. Most recently, Peters served as the states lottery commissioner. He also teaches public policy at Central Michigan University.
Peters, a fifth-generation native of the district, is married with three children.
Erik Paulsen (R)
Occupation: State Representative
Home: Eden Prairie
As the only candidate in a three-way race who has held elected office, Paulsen proved that experience counts in the 3rd district, where he continues a Republican reign that has lasted almost half a century.
Paulsen focused his campaign on his belief in cutting taxes and his legislative background. He served in the state House for 14 years and recently held the position of Majority Leader.
In contrast, Democratic contender Ashwin Madia could only point to his experience as student body president at the University of Minnesota and Independent candidate David Dillon also had little experience.
Paulsen also highlighted his family in campaign ads, one of which featured two of his daughters. Madia is a bachelor.
Paulsen was endorsed by his former boss, outgoing Republican Rep. Jim Ramstad, this spring. Paulsen had worked for Ramstad during his first term, but the Member-elect has said he is more conservative than his moderate predecessor.
Paulsen also spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention, where he called himself one of a new generation of Republican reformers.
A graduate of St. Olaf College with a degree in mathematics, Paulsen got an early start in politics while working as an intern for then-Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn.) during college.
At the age of 29, he won a seat at the state House and retained it six times. During his 2006 re-election run, he won with almost 65 percent of the vote.
Paulsen has four daughters with his wife, Kelly, whom he met in college.
Gregg Harper (R)
Although his district offered little in the way of a general election challenge, Harper proved his political talent this spring during a tough GOP primary battle that pitted the little-known Republican and his grass-roots organization against one incredibly wealthy opponent and another well-known state Senator.
Now the former Rankin County Republican Party chairman has gone from local party functionary to the sole Republican Member of Mississippis House delegation. And hes done it less than 12 months since announcing last November that he planned to seek the 3rd district seat of retiring Rep. Chip Pickering (R).
The seven-way GOP primary to replace Pickering quickly turned into a wild and somewhat nasty contest this spring. Of the four top contenders in the race, Harper turned out to be the only candidate to avoid being caught up in the mudslinging that developed, and his strong grass-roots campaign built on his connections from eight years as chairman of the strongest Republican county in the state allowed him to slip, somewhat under the radar, into the runoff.
Harper went on to prove he could win handily despite being outraised and outspent by an 11-year veteran of the Legislature.
In Congress, Harper has said that developing a sensible energy policy and finding a way to solve the nations economic crisis in a fiscally responsible manner will be among his top priorities.
Another issue thats especially important to Harper is helping families with special-needs children. He and his wife, Sidney, have two children, one of whom was born with special needs.
Harper, an avid college football fan, graduated from Mississippi College in 1978 and went on to earn his law degree from the University of Mississippi Law School.
Blaine Luetkemeyer (R)
Occupation: Banker, insurance agent, farmer
Home: St. Elizabeth
When six-term Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R) decided at the end of January to run for governor, he set off a stampede in the 9th district. Four Republicans and five Democrats duked it out in their respective Aug. 5 primaries. Luetkemeyer, the former director of the Missouri Division of Tourism and a former state Representative, came out on top of the Republican field. He finished with 40 percent, significantly ahead of state Rep. Bob Onder, who got 29 percent.
In the general election, Luetkemeyer faced off against state Rep. Judy Baker (D). He had the advantage of running in a right-leaning district that chose President Bush in 2000 and 2004. The candidates united in opposition to the economic rescue package that Congress passed in October but argued over taxes, Social Security and health care.
Both candidates went on the offensive: Luetkemeyer resurrected a charge from a previous campaign that a health care group affiliated with the University of Missouri lost $2 million in 2000 while Baker served as its interim director, and Baker criticized a fundraiser Vice President Cheney hosted for Luetkemeyer.
Serving in the state House from 1998 to 2004, Luetkemeyer used his professional experience to bolster his legislative work. The owner of the Bank of St. Elizabeth and Luetkemeyer Insurance Agency, he led the financial services committee while Republicans were in the majority.
This isnt Luetkemeyers first try for a higher office. In 2004, he came in second place in the primary for state treasurer. Gov. Matt Blunt (R) then appointed him director of the state tourism agency, where he served until he decided to run for Congress.
In Washington, D.C., Luetkemeyer is interested in serving on the Agriculture, Ways and Means, and Financial Services committees.
Luetkemeyer is married to Jackie Luetkemeyer, and they have three children.
Dina Titus (D)
Occupation: Author, professor, former state Senator
Home: Las Vegas
Titus, who had been the Minority Leader in the state Senate for 15 years, began actively looking for a promotion in 2006 when she ran for governor. She lost narrowly to now-Gov. Jim Gibbons (R), but this year she succeeded in her bid to oust Rep. Jon Porter (R) in a district that she helped create after the 2000 Census.
Titus joined the race after a candidate who had been groomed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), prosecutor Robert Daskas, abruptly dropped out in April. She breezed through her August primary, then turned to Porter, her former state Senate colleague and a perennial Democratic target in this closely divided suburban Las Vegas district. Every public poll showed the race to be extremely close.
Porter attacked Titus as a liberal tax-and-spender, pointing to her state Senate votes to raise taxes; she cast him as a close ally of President Bush. Titus used a biographical ad to joke with her mother about her Southern accent, nurtured during a childhood in Georgia.
Outside of the state Senate, Titus has written two books, Bombs in the Backyard: Atomic Testing and American Politics and Battle Born: Federal-State Relations in Nevada During the Twentieth Century.
She is a professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and her husband, Tom Wright, teaches on Latin America at UNLV. Accordingly, Titus has said she would like to serve on the Education and Labor Committee and, if it still exists in the next Congress, the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Titus is not the first in her family to serve in Congress: Her great-great-grandfather, James Lindsay Seward (D), represented Georgias 1st district from 1853 to 1859.
John Adler (D)
Occupation: Lawyer, state Senator
Home: Cherry Hill
Adler got a pleasant surprise last November when Rep. Jim Saxton (R), a House veteran of 13 terms and the man he was planning to run against, announced he would retire at the end of this Congress. Even then, the 16-year state Senator was the only Democrat to step up in this closely divided district, and he quickly gained the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
In the general election, Adler faced Saxtons preferred successor, Medford Mayor Chris Myers (R), who won a contentious GOP primary in June. While Myers emphasized his credentials as a Gulf War veteran, Adler promoted his solutions for domestic issues like health care and education. Myers accused Adler of being a product of the Camden County political machine, but the Democrat maintained a fundraising edge throughout the race.
This was Adlers second run for Congress. His first attempt came in 1990 when he was a member of the Cherry Hill Town Council; he held Saxton to 58 percent of the vote. In 1992 he came back to defeat a Republican incumbent to win his state Senate seat.
In the state Senate, Adler, who attended Harvard University for his undergraduate and law degrees, is best known for his work as chairman of the Judiciary Committee since 2001. His committee was responsible for confirming the governors political and judicial appointments and investigating ethics violations among appointees. In the nations capital, though, Adler has said he would like to serve on the House Armed Services and Financial Services committees.
Adler is married to Shelley Levitan Adler, his law school classmate and a member of the states Motion Picture and Television Development Commission. They have four sons.
Leonard Lance (R)
Occupation: Lawyer, state Senator
After barely surviving a challenge from state Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D) in 2006, Rep. Mike Ferguson (R) decided to call it quits last November as Stender geared up for another run. That paved the way for Lance to win Fergusons seat in another close contest with the Democrat for a seat that national Democrats had counted on winning.
Lance, a state Senator for six years, first had to battle through a crowded Republican primary. Kate Whitman, the daughter of former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R), outraised him. She beat Lance in the districts share of Middlesex County and Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks won his Union County base, but Lance won the other two counties and more than doubled Whitmans vote total overall.
In the general election, Lance and Stender argued over who supported which tax increases, but they agreed that they supported the economic rescue package that Congress passed in October. Lance was one of the few Republican Congressional hopefuls to get a fundraising visit from President Bush this cycle even as he tried to portray himself as far more moderate than the president and other national GOP leaders.
The son and grandson of state legislators, Lance worked as a law clerk and an aide to former Gov. Tom Kean (R). He has a law degree from Vanderbilt University and a masters degree from Princeton University. He was first elected to the General Assembly in 1991. A decade later, he ascended to the chairmanship of the budget committee, where he worked with then-Gov. Whitman, who had line-item veto power. Elected to the state Senate in 2002, he served as Minority Leader from 2004 to 2007 and this year became the Republican budget officer.
Lance is married to Heidi Rohrbach, his law school classmate.
Martin Heinrich (D)
Occupation: Businessman, former
Albuquerque city councilor
Heinrich breaks the Republicans’ 40-year hold on the swing 1st district seat. Although many ambitious Democrats have thought of running there in the recent past, Heinrich jumped into the race at the urging of Gov. Bill Richardson (D) before Rep. Heather Wilson (R) announced her intention to run for Senate. She had held the seat for 10 years and faced several highly competitive contests.
After Wilson announced her intention to move on – she ultimately lost the GOP Senate primary – Republican leaders quickly coalesced around Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White (R), a popular law enforcement official who seemed to transcend partisan politics. But Democrats moved quickly to portray White as a clone of President Bush, and their gambit succeeded.
Despite this, Heinrich started out less well-known in the district than White, and had to work hard to raise his profile and his standing in the polls. He was helped when the Associated Press earlier this fall reported a connection between White and the firing of David Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney for New Mexico.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee helped Heinrich enormously, pouring $2 million into the race in independent expenditures. The National Republican Congressional Committee, which had always come to Wilson’s aid when Republicans were flush and in the majority, spent not a dime on White’s behalf.
Before winning the Congressional race, Heinrich served on the Albuquerque City Council for four years, working to fight crime and protect the environment.
After earning a bachelor’s in engineering from the University of Missouri, Heinrich moved to New Mexico and started a small public affairs consulting firm. From there, Heinrich moved into the governmental side of policymaking. Richardson appointed Heinrich natural resources trustee of New Mexico. He also served on environmental and urban planning boards.
He is married with two children.
Harry Teague (D)
Occupation: oil services company owner and former Lea County Commissioner
Democrat Harry Teague’s victory breaks 30 years of Republican representation in this southern New Mexico district. The 2008 campaign centered around three things: money, oil, and guns. Both Teague and wealthy restaurateur Ed Tinsley (R) poured a substantial amount of their own money into the race, on their way to raising more than a million dollars each. But Teague proved to be the bigger spender, investing at least $700,000 of his own money as he raised at least $1.5 million for his campaign. Teague’s fundraising was boosted after he was added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s red-to-blue program which helps funnel money to top candidates.
The district is home to a considerable number of people employed by the oil industry and the candidates’ sentiments on oil took center stage. Much of Tinsley’s attacks on Teague had to do with his alleged views on oil drilling and the environment. Teague countered, hitting Tinsley on his gun views. Both candidates received A ratings from the National Rifle Association but the group endorsed Tinsley. Teague, however, was backed by the American Hunters and Shooters Association.
Before his Congressional run Teague served on the Lea County Board of Commissioners where he was elected numerous times. Part of his platform involved his work there and Lea County’s record low unemployment rate – the lowest in the state. Teague is married and has two children and five grandchildren.
He would like to gain a seat on the Energy and Commerce or Veterans’ Affairs panels when he arrives on Capitol Hill.
Ben Ray Luján (D)
Occupation: New Mexico Public
In the state with the biggest per capita Hispanic population, Luján’s election means a Hispanic will represent New Mexico in Congress for the first time since 1997, when now-Gov. Bill Richardson (D) joined former President Bill Clinton’s cabinet. Luján will replace Rep. Tom Udall (D), who was elected to the Senate.
Luján’s victory in the highly Democratic northern New Mexico district over construction contractor Dan East (R) and liberal think-tank director Carol Miller (I) was a foregone conclusion. His real challenge was winning the June Democratic primary.
As the son of Ben Luján (D), the powerful state Speaker, Luján caught some breaks – and used some family muscle – to keep potentially formidable primary foes out of the race. Eventually, his toughest competitor was Don Wiviott, a Santa Fe developer who spent more than $1.3 million of his own money on the race. In a crowded field, Luján prevailed, 42 percent to 34 percent.
Lujan ran on a platform of fighting for improved health care and increasing renewable energy in the state. He was elected to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in 2004 and served as its chairman for three years. He has also served as deputy state treasurer and worked for the state Department of Cultural Affairs.
Lujan holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from New Mexico Highlands University.
Michael McMahon (D)
Occupation: Attorney, New York City councilman
Home: Staten Island
Election night was doubly sweet for McMahon and his family, for while he was winning the seat held by outgoing Rep. Vito Fossella (R), his wife, Judith Novellino McMahon (D), was winning a race for the state Supreme Court.
McMahon’s ascension from the New York City Council to Congress is in many ways less a story about him than it is the hard-to-believe tale of the implosion of the once-powerful Staten Island GOP.
It started with Fossella’s arrest on May Day for drunken driving in Alexandria, Va. From this, the New York tabloids quickly unearthed details about the married Congressman’s secret love child, and by the end of May he was out of the race.
At first, state and local Republican leaders seemed confident of holding the lone GOP seat in the New York delegation. But one by one, formidable Staten Island Republicans declined to run. The party eventually turned to Frank Powers, a retired Wall Street investment banker, but he died in his sleep in late June. Finally, local GOP
leaders reluctantly anointed former state Assemblyman Robert Straniere, who lost his legislative seat in 2004 because leading Staten Island Republicans could not stand him and knocked him off in the GOP primary.
McMahon, whom national Democrats had previously tried to recruit to run against Fossella, did not enter the race until the Congressman had gotten out of it, elbowing out a fellow city councilman in the process. With all the Republican dysfunction, McMahon was more or less a shoo-in, and he becomes the first Democrat to hold the Staten Island-based seat since 1980.
McMahon, a graduate of New York University and New York Law School, worked as a staffer for local politicians before being elected to the council in 2001. He and his wife have a son and a daughter.
In Congress, McMahon would like a seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Paul Tonko (D)
Occupation: Engineer, former state
Tonko entered the race to replace retiring Rep. Mike McNulty (D) late, but he was the best known of the Democratic candidates, and in this Albany-area district, winning the Democratic nomination is tantamount to victory. He breezed in the general election over a local official.
In the crowded Democratic primary, Tonko’s chief opponent was Tracey Brooks, a former regional director for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D). The candidates barely differed on the issues, and the race remained fairly civil. But Tonko capitalized on his connections from his two dozen years in the state Assembly, and prevailed 39 percent to 30 percent.
An engineer by trade, Tonko worked for state agencies while building a career in local political office. He was elected to the Legislature in 1983, rising to become chairman of the Assembly Standing Committee on Energy. In 2007, then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) tapped Tonko to become president and chief executive officer of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, a post he held until launching his Congressional bid.
Tonko, who is single, is a graduate of Clarkson University. Given his background, he is seeking a seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Dan Maffei (D)
Occupation: Financial company executive, former Congressional staffer
Born on the Fourth of July, Maffei gave Rep. Jim Walsh (R) the toughest race of Walsh’s 20-year Congressional career in 2006, and basically never stopped running. When Walsh announced his retirement early this year, Maffei became the frontrunner to replace him in a Syracuse-based district that is becoming ever more Democratic.
Not that Maffei’s election was completely without intrigue. First, he had to worry that Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll (D) – whose re-election campaign Maffei had managed in 2005 – would get into the race. Then he wondered whether a formidable Republican would run. But Driscoll decided to sit on the sidelines, and the local GOP struggled to come up with a top-tier candidate. Finally, Republicans settled on former Onondaga County Legislator Dale Sweetland, a credible candidate with a solid record of public service, but he entered the race late and lagged far behind Maffei on the fundraising front.
Maffei, a former journalist who worked at a venture capital firm in the 2008 election cycle, is no stranger to Capitol Hill, having worked for former Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) as well as for the House Ways and Means Committee. In fact, Maffei’s close ties to Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) were one of the few tangible things that Republicans tried to use against him in the campaign, as a financial scandal enveloped the veteran Congressman.
Given Walsh’s status as the lone appropriator from upstate New York, Maffei is seeking a seat on the Appropriations Committee. But he would also welcome a return to Ways and Means, and also would consider assignments on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Financial Service committees.
Maffei did his undergraduate work at Brown University and received master’s degrees from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He and his wife, Abby Davidson-
Maffei, a graduate student, are newlyweds.
Chris Lee (R)
Lee borrowed the political team of powerful outgoing Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) to defeat attorney Alice Kryzan (D).
When Reynolds announced his retirement in late March, more than 20 Western New York Republicans expressed an interest in running for the seat, but with the Congressman’s blessing, Lee, who runs a family-owned manufacturing company, quickly cleared the field. As three Democrats engaged in an increasingly nasty primary, Lee kept his head down, raising money and learning from the Reynolds crew.
The 26th district, which takes in portions of the Buffalo and Rochester metropolitan areas, is Republican on paper, but Reynolds had an increasingly difficult time defending it in the previous two elections, and Lee appeared to struggle against the national Democratic tide. Although he had far more campaign cash than Kryzan, the Democrat was helped by almost $2 million in independent expenditures from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the race was close for a while, though in the end, Lee won comfortably.
In Congress, Lee would like to serve on the Energy and Commerce, Financial Services and Small Business committees. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester and earned an MBA from Chapman University. He and his wife, Michele, have a young son.
Eric Massa (D)
Occupation: Retired Navy commander
In his second try against Rep. Randy Kuhl (R), Massa rode the Democratic wave to victory, even though the 29th district, which takes in New York’s Southern Tier and parts of the Rochester area, usually votes Republican in presidential years – a circumstance that changed in 2008.
What’s more, although he had been an elected official for a quarter century, Kuhl had never fully endeared himself to his constituents when he was elected to Congress in 2004, and he had to endure a wave of bad publicity in his first Congressional campaign. Massa was a raw and unknown political commodity in his first race against Kuhl, but he fell just 2 points short; in their second go-round, he was far more disciplined and built up a strong network of grass-roots supporters. And there were times during this election cycle when Republican strategists wondered whether Kuhl’s heart was really in the fight.
Massa grew up as a Navy brat and followed his father into the service. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and then spent two dozen years in the Navy. At the pinnacle of his military career, he was the right-hand man to Gen. Wesley Clark, both in Panama and when Clark was the supreme commander of NATO. Clark, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, was a key supporter of Massa’s in both of his campaigns.
Massa’s military career was cut short when he was diagnosed with terminal Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But he beat the disease and went to work at Corning Inc. After massive layoffs at Corning, he took a job as a Republican staffer with the House Armed Services Committee, but left in protest over the Iraq War – and to help Clark’s presidential bid. When he returned to Corning, he switched parties and plotted his first race against Kuhl.
Massa and his wife, Beverly, have three children.
In Congress, he would like to serve on the Agriculture Committee, and he would seek a return engagement on Armed Services.
Larry Kissell (D)
Kissell fell just 330 votes short of incumbent Rep. Robin Hayes (R) in 2006, and he never stopped running.
The challenger got little institutional support from national Democrats two years ago and was badly outspent. This cycle, while Kissell’s own fundraising wasn’t great, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee swooped in and spent more than $2 million on his behalf.
It probably made the difference, as Hayes is a wealthy businessman and textile company heir who began dropping his own money into the race at the end. Kissell, coincidentally, is a former textile worker, having spent 27 years in the industry before becoming a high school social studies teacher.
The race seemed close all cycle, but it broke the Democrats’ way around the time the nation’s financial crisis hit. The tipping point of the election, though, may have come in late October, when Hayes was quoted as saying liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God at a rally with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee. After that, polls began leaning in Kissell’s favor. A huge turnout among African-American voters supporting Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president also helped Kissell considerably.
An avid cyclist, Kissell is married and has two daughters.
Steve Driehaus (D)
Occupation: state House Minority Whip, community development consultant
Home: Price Hill
Driehaus fought a tough race, ultimately beating out Republican Congressman Steve Chabot for the 1st district seat.
The race was a bitter one, with Driehaus repeatedly rejecting attack ads by the Chabot campaign as misleading or false on issues such as making English the official language of the state (Chabot said Driehaus didn’t approve, but Driehaus said he did).
As a state Representative and House Minority Whip, Driehaus was the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s choice candidate to turn the usually Republican district Democratic, and Driehaus ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Because Driehaus ran in a generally conservative district where population is 30 percent black, he courted black voters, hoping that would tip the scales in his favor. Although ballots don’t require voters to list their race, there were reports of an unusually high number of black voters going to the polls early.
Driehaus bills himself as a conservative Democrat focused on the economy and crime. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio and a master’s degree in public affairs from Indiana University. He served in the Peace Corps in Senegal after college. Driehaus is married and has three children.
Steve Austria (R)
Occupation: State Senator
Austria joins the House from the Ohio state Senate, where he was the Majority Whip as well as chairman of the Highways and Transportation Committee and a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Before that, he served in the Ohio House.
Austria was the frontrunner to replace Rep. David Hobson (R) as soon as he announced his retirement plans, though in the GOP primary he had to defeat a local party chairman who had feuded with Hobson for years.
In the general election, Austria faced attorney Sharen Neuhardt (D), who embraced her underdog status and ran an aggressive campaign. Many of Neuhardt’s ads attacked Hobson on the issue of disappearing jobs in Ohio. But Austria fought back with ads criticizing Neuhardt for her economic policies.
The two largest newspapers in the district split their endorsements, Neuhardt getting the nod from the Dayton Daily News’ editorial page, and Austria getting the backing of the Columbus Dispatch. The Dispatch cited Austria’s 10 years in Ohio’s General Assembly and his reputation as a reliable lawmaker as proof that he would make the better Congressman.
The 7th district is probably too Republican to be particularly competitive, even with Neuhardt’s spirited campaign.
Born in Cincinnati, Austria grew up in Xenia, Ohio, as one of nine children. He lives with his wife and three sons in Beavercreek, where he’s been for 20 years. Before his political career, Austria started a financial planning company after he graduated from Marquette University.
Marcia Fudge (D)
Occupation: Attorney, mayor of Warrensville Heights
Home: Warrensville Heights
Nominated by local Democrats to replace the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D) on the November ballot, Fudge parlayed that into a predictable victory in Ohio’s overwhelmingly Democratic 11th district.
As Jones’ former chief of staff and protégé, Fudge was the consensus pick by Democratic leaders to replace her mentor. Jones died in August after suffering a brain aneurism while driving her car.
Fudge is also expected to win the Nov. 18 special election that determines who will serve out the remainder of Jones’ term. Fudge won the October Democratic special election primary with 74 percent of the vote and will likely run unopposed on Nov. 18.
She has an undergraduate degree from Ohio State University and a law degree from Cleveland State University.
Fudge has held a variety of positions in the private and public sectors. She served as a visiting referee and acting judge in Cuyahoga County and held four public finance positions in the county. In addition, Fudge worked as a solo practitioner specializing in estate, trust, business and nonprofit law. Fudge has been mayor of Warrensville Heights since 2000 when she became the city’s first African-American female mayor.
In the House, she aims to serve on the Financial Services, Energy and Commerce, or Science and Technology committee.
John Boccieri (D)
Occupation: State Senator
Heavy campaign spending paid off for the Democrats after Boccieri defeated state Sen. Kirk Schuring (R) last week. Boccieri will replace Rep. Ralph Regula (R), who is retiring after 18 terms.
An Air Force reservist, Boccieri was recruited by the national Democratic Party, even though he lived in a neighboring Congressional district – a point Schuring raised frequently. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) campaigned for Boccieri in October, helping the Democrats flip a seat that had become more competitive in recent cycles.
Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Boccieri attended college at St. Bonaventure University in New York on a baseball scholarship. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in economics and then joined the U.S. Air Force, where he served for 14 years, including four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. While Boccieri was stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, he earned master’s degrees in public administration and business from Webster University in St. Louis.
In 2000, Boccieri was elected to the state House. He served for three terms and was elected Minority Whip by his peers. In 2006, he was elected to the state Senate.
Although he is not sure which committees he wants to serve on in the Congress, a Boccieri spokesman said he is dedicated to making the economy work for middle class families, caring for veterans, encouraging alternative-energy development and solving the health care crisis.
Boccieri and his wife, Stacey Kennedy Boccieri, have four children.
Kurt Schrader (D)
Occupation: State Senator, veterinarian, farmer
Oregon voters elected Schrader to succeed retiring Rep. Darlene Hooley (D), despite Republican hopes of flipping the 5th district.
Schrader’s opponent, Mike Erickson (R), made a good showing against Hooley as the GOP nominee in 2006, but the swing district has had a Democratic edge in voter registration since the competitive Democratic presidential primary this spring. Questions about Erickson’s truthfulness plagued him throughout the general election campaign, ever since his opponent in the Republican primary accused him of lying about whether he paid for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion.
The combination of the district’s slight Democratic tilt, Erickson’s weaknesses and Schrader’s wide support among the Democratic establishment all contributed to the state Senator’s victory.
Schrader received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University in 1973 and his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Illinois in 1977. A 16-year member and former chairman of the Canby Planning Commission, Schrader was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1997.
After moving to the state Senate in 2003, Schrader co-chaired the Joint Ways and Means Committee during the 2003 and 2005 legislative sessions and served as chairman of the Interim Joint Legislative Audit Committee during the 2005 session. Although he has not said which committees he wants to serve on in Congress, a Schrader spokesman says his top priorities are economic recovery, investing in infrastructure, supporting education and reforming health care.
In addition to his legislative roles, Schrader owns and manages the Clackamas County Veterinary clinics in Oregon City and West Linn – one of his TV ads in a campaign showed him treating his patients. He also raises organic crops on Canby’s Three Rivers Farm where Schrader lives with his wife, Martha, and four children. Martha Schrader is a Clackamas County commissioner who also considered running for Congress when Hooley announced her retirement plans.
Kathy Dahlkemper (D)
First-time candidate Dahlkemper triumphed over seven-term incumbent Rep. Phil English (R) in a race that wasn’t initially on the radar screens of national Democratic leaders.
English had won the blue-collar district along the shores of Lake Erie fairly easily, although the first signs of trouble were evident in 2006, when the Congressman took just 54 percent of the vote against a political nobody.
Dahlkemper emerged from a crowded Democratic primary and effectively cast herself as a political outsider. The race became a top priority for both national parties, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $1.5 million in the district compared with $777,000 in independent expenditures from the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Because the race was a priority for both parties, celebrity leaders like former New York Mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani (R) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) campaigned in the district. Polls throughout the late summer and fall showed the race to be close.
Campaigning as a business-friendly outsider, Dahlkemper attracted many voters who usually supported English’s labor-friendly, moderate platform.
A graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Dahlkemper is not a politician by career but has been involved with a variety of civic organizations, including the Girl Scouts of America, the Worldwide Marriage Encounter and the Nonprofit Partnership. She served as the director of the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park for 10 years and has owned and managed Dahlkemper Landscape Architects & Contractors with her husband, Dan, for 11 years. The couple has five grown children: Aron, Gretchen, Linden, Tricia and Nathan.
Although Dahlkemper has not said which committees she wants to serve on in Congress, a spokesman said she is dedicated to solving the energy crisis and creating new jobs.
Glenn Thompson (R)
Occupation: Centre County GOP chairman, former therapist and rehab services manager
Home: Howard Township
Thompson easily won last week’s race to represent Pennsylvania’s Republican-leaning 5th district and succeed Rep. John Peterson (R), who was instrumental in Thompson’s victory.
Although Thompson was able to win the general election with minimal effort, it was not always smooth sailing for the Centre County GOP chairman. When Peterson suddenly announced his retirement in late January, Thompson was one of nine Republicans to jump into the race – including two who were very wealthy and spent freely – and there was no clear frontrunner. Peterson finally endorsed Thompson a few days before the April primary, and that may have made the difference.
A lifelong resident of Howard Township, Thompson received his bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and earned his master’s degree from Temple University. He managed Susquehanna Health Rehab Services for 26 years and has also held a variety of local leadership positions. Thompson has served as Centre County Republican chairman and on the Republican State Committee for six years. He also served on the Bald Eagle Area School Board for six years.
In addition, Thompson has served as a firefighter and an emergency medical technician for 25 years and a Scoutmaster for 30 years. He is president of the Juniata Valley Boy Scout Council and vice chairman of the Private Industry Council of the Central Corridor.
Although a spokesman said Thompson has not decided which committees he wants to serve on in Congress, Thompson’s background is in health care.
Thompson and his wife, Penny, have been married for 27 years and have three grown sons: Parker, Logan and Kale.
Phil Roe (R)
Occupation: Johnson City mayor, former doctor
Home: Johnson City
Roe’s victory was no surprise – but his win setting up the Nov. 4 showdown was. The Johnson City mayor defeated freshman Rep. David Davis by 500 votes in the August Republican primary, marking the first time in 42 years that a Tennessee Congressman lost a primary.
Roe, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist and an Army veteran, ran in the 2006 primary as well, but he finished fourth of 13. In his rematch, Roe struck on the issue of gas prices, which were surging, and slammed Davis for accepting campaign contributions from oil companies. The attack proved effective, and national Democrats seized on Roe’s upset win in early August as proof that their Republican counterparts were losing the debate over drilling. GOPers countered that the result reflected an anti-incumbent mood that would cut against Democrats.
Roe coasted to victory in the general election against token opposition from Democratic candidate Rob Russell, an instructor at East Tennessee State University and musician who retired from his band, Rob Russell & the Sore Losers, to focus on the race.
In a district that hasn’t elected a Democrat since 1881, Roe ran as a traditional conservative – an anti-abortion, pro-gun fiscal hawk – and burnished his outsider credentials by refusing political action committee money. Roe would like to serve on the Veterans’ Affairs and Budget committees, a spokeswoman said.
Roe and his wife, Pam, have three children and two grandchildren.
Pete Olson (R)
Occupation: Senate staffer, Naval liaison to the Senate, naval aviator
Home: Sugar Land
Olson ousted Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson, who won the seat of indicted Majority Leader Tom Delay (R) in 2006, in a high-spending race.
Heading into November, the seat for the Republican-leaning district was considered one of the most promising opportunities for a GOP pickup. The two candidates combined spent more than $2 million.
Olson will be on familiar ground when he comes to Washington. He has held staff positions in the offices of Texas Republicans Sen. John Cornyn and former Sen. Phil Gramm, working on military issues and funding for NASA and transportation projects. Olson has also served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and flew missions over the Persian Gulf as a naval aviator.
In an April runoff election, Olson defeated Rep. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R), a Houston councilwoman who occupied the seat for seven weeks after DeLay’s resignation.
Olson graduated from Rice University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and received a law degree from the University of Texas. He joined the Navy after graduation. He has two young children, Kate and Grant.
Jason Chaffetz (R)
Occupation: Small-business owner
In his first bid for political office, Chaffetz pulled off a stunning defeat of 12-year incumbent Rep. Chris Cannon (R).
In June, Chaffetz knocked Cannon out of his seat by 20 points, a staggering margin that GOP strategists chalked up to the incumbent’s stance on immigration. Voters unhappy with Cannon’s moderate position on the issue looked to Chaffetz, who made crackdowns on illegal immigration central to his campaign.
Chaffetz grew up as a Democrat. He served as a Utah co-chairman for Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in 1988. On a more personal note, Chaffetz’s father was briefly married to Dukakis’ wife, Kitty Dukakis.
Chaffetz has said his conversion to the Republican Party began during his campaigning for Dukakis, when he said he discovered that he fit in better with Republicans.
Chaffetz is the former chief of staff to Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. He also has served as a Utah Valley State College trustee, a member of the Highland City Planning Commission and chairman of the Utah National Guard Adjutant General Review.
In 2005, Chaffetz became the sole owner of Maxtera Utah, a corporate communications and marketing company.
Chaffetz has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University, where he went on an athletic scholarship as place-kicker on the football team in the late 1980s. He has three children and has been married to his wife, Julie, for 17 years.
Chaffetz said he would like seats on the Homeland Security, Foreign Affairs, Oversight and Government Reform, Natural Resources, and Financial Services committees. He conceded, however, that he has realistic expectations, given his freshman status.
Glenn Nye (D)
Occupation: Former diplomat
Nye has devoted his career to the federal government, but a Washington, D.C., insider he is not.
Instead, he has represented the nation in war-torn countries around the world, including Macedonia, Kosovo, Singapore, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Although Nye will be one of the youngest Members of Congress, he comes to Washington with an impressive résumé and more than 10 years of experience with the State Department.
In 2001, he received the department’s Superior Honor Award for leading the rescue of 26 American citizens caught behind insurgent lines and negotiating the release of an American hostage during a civil conflict in Macedonia.
Later, as a U.S. Agency for International Development program director, Nye worked to stabilize Iraqi villages by creating employment opportunities for more than 70,000 Iraqis and registering eligible voters living in U.S. cities for Iraq’s 2005 election.
His opponent, second-term Republican Rep. Thelma Drake, outspent him 2-to-1 in the runup to Election Day, but a surge of expenditures by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the support of party leaders, including Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), buoyed Nye’s campaign. He was also helped immeasurably by the huge statewide turnout operation for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), the Democratic presidential nominee.
The Virginian-Pilot, the district’s largest newspaper, endorsed Drake two years ago, but went for Nye this year, writing in this election, quite simply, Nye’s potential is a better bet than Drake’s performance.
Stumping for Nye in October, Hoyer recommended the political neophyte for a spot on the Armed Services Committee. Nye represents one of the largest military populations in the country, including the world’s largest naval station in Norfolk.
Nye graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Gerry Connolly (D)
Occupation: Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman
Connolly, a veteran politician, will replace retiring seven-term Rep. Tom Davis (R).
Even from the other side of the aisle, he has promised to carry on Davis’ legacy of bipartisan advocacy for Virginia’s largest jurisdiction.
Connolly comes to Congress with experience in nearly every aspect of local government.
As the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Connolly oversees a budget of $4.5 billion and a county that, based on size, would be the nation’s 13th-largest city, 12th-largest school district and sixth-largest office market. He also serves as the chairman of the county’s legislative committee and is vice chairman of the economic advisory committee.
For all his local experience, Connolly is also no stranger to Washington, D.C. He logged a decade with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he worked on international economic issues, global narcotics control and United Nations and Middle East policies.
Connolly has worked for 20 years on a project that would extend Metro service beyond Tyson’s Corner to Dulles International Airport and hopes to land a spot on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He is also interested in positions with the Foreign Affairs panel and Oversight and Government Reform panel.
He is particularly intent on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program expansion, which President Bush vetoed twice in 2007.
Connolly received his bachelor’s degree in literature from Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1979. He lives in Mantua with his wife and teenage daughter.
Cynthia Lummis (R)
Occupation: Rancher, attorney and former state Treasurer
Lummis, a well-known Wyoming politician, claimed the state’s lone House seat, preserving a 30-year GOP dynasty.
She replaces another female lawmaker, retiring seven-term Rep. Barbara Cubin (R).
In 1979, then-24-year-old Lummis became the youngest woman ever elected to the Wyoming Legislature. During Lummis’ 14-year career in the Wyoming House and Senate, she focused on natural resources and taxation issues. She continued her natural resources work in the administration of former Gov. Jim Geringer (R).
As a two-term state treasurer, Lummis diversified the state’s investment portfolio, nearly tripling its value to $8.5 billion.
Lummis also served as the interim director of the Office of State Lands & Investments. In 2005, she received the Small Business Advocate of the Year Award from the National Small Business Association.
Her lengthy political résumé made her one of four candidates considered to replace the late Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.) in June 2007.
In this year’s four-way GOP primary, Lummis defeated businessman and rancher Mark Gordon, who outspent her 4-to-1. She had endorsements from the National Rifle Association and a Wyoming anti-abortion-rights group. The conservative Republican has said she supports privatization of Social Security and increasing the number of temporary work visas.
She attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie, the state’s only four-year university, earning undergraduate degrees in biology and animal science followed by a law degree in 1985. She and her husband have a daughter, Annaliese.
Biographies were compiled by Kate Ackley, Melissa Attias, Jessica Brady, Sara Ditta, David M. Drucker, Casey Hynes, Josh Kurtz, Janie Lorber, John McArdle, Tricia Miller, Tory Newmyer, Emily Pierce and Daniel Strauss.
Correction: Nov. 17, 2008
The article included an incorrect photo with the biography of Rep.-elect Chris Lee (R-N.Y.). The correct photo appears in this online version.