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Nick Lampson


Nick Lampson

Nick Lampson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 22nd district
In office
January 4, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Shelley Sekula-Gibbs
Succeeded by Pete Olson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 9th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by Steve Stockman
Succeeded by Al Green
Personal details
Born (1945-02-14) February 14, 1945
Beaumont, Texas
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Susan Floyd
Children Hillary Lampson
Stephanie Lampson
Residence Beaumont, Texas (1945-2006, 2009-present)
Stafford, Texas (2006-2009)
Alma mater Lamar University
Occupation high school teacher
Religion Roman Catholic

Nicholas Valentino 'Nick' Lampson (born February 14, 1945) is an American politician from the state of Texas and was a Congressman representing the 22nd Congressional District and the 9th Congressional District of Texas.

Lampson was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas's 9th congressional district from 1997 to 2005. After an extremely controversial mid-decade redistricting, he lost his congressional seat in 2004. In 2006, he was elected to Congress to represent the 22nd district, which had recently been a strongly Republican district, represented by Tom DeLay, the former Republican Majority Leader, who had resigned because of a scandal. Lampson was defeated in 2008 in his re-election bid by the Republican Pete Olson.[1] In 2012, Lampson was defeated by the Republican Randy Weber in his unsuccessful attempt to return to Congress in Ron Paul's old congressional district.[2]

Early life, education, and early political career

Lampson is a lifelong resident of southeast Texas and a second-generation Italian-American. His grandparents came to the United States from Italy nearly one hundred years ago and settled in Stafford, where they had farms and were founding members of their church. His parents grew up, met, and married in Fort Bend County. The Lampson children spent a great deal of time on their grandparents' farms working the fields. Lampson's mother and father eventually moved to Beaumont, where Lampson was born.

Lampson was one of six children born to a welder and a homemaker. His father died when he was 12 years old, and Lampson took his first job at that young age sweeping floors to supplement the family's income. Lampson's mother received $19 per month from Social Security to supplement their income as long as he stayed in school. This money helped his family stay together in those difficult years. Lampson has steadfastly protected Social Security throughout his time in government.

Though Lampson's mother had only a fifth grade education, she encouraged her children in school, and all six graduated from college with at least one degree. His mother earned her GED on her 80th birthday. Lampson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a master's degree in education from Lamar University. He taught high school science before entering politics.

In 1976, Lampson was elected as property tax assessor for Jefferson County. He served in that post for 19 years. He resigned in order to run for Congress.

Early congressional years (1996-2005)

An earlier photo of Lampson



In the 1996 election, Lampson decided to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Texas's 9th congressional district. The incumbent was Republican U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman, who was a Freshman in congress. The district had been represented by Democrat Jack Brooks for 42 years, but Brooks had been one of the most prominent Democratic incumbents to lose re-election in the "Republican Revolution" of 1994, which brought the House under the control of Republicans for the first time since 83rd United States Congress following the 1952 elections. Lampson won the Democratic primary with 69% of the vote.[3] In the general election, Lampson defeated Stockman 53%-47%.[4][5]


He won re-election to a second term against Republican Tom Cottar 64%-36%.[6]


He won re-election to a third term against Republican Paul Williams 59%-40%.[7]


He won re-election to a fourth term against Republican Paul Williams 59%-40%.[8]


He was one of the targets of a controversial mid-decade redistricting in 2003.[9] His district was renumbered as the 2nd district. Galveston, which along with Beaumont had anchored the district and its previous incarnations for over a century, was moved into the neighboring 14th District. Much of Galveston County and the portion of Houston including NASA's Johnson Space Center (which had been part of the 9th since 1967) were drawn into DeLay's 22nd District. They were replaced by several heavily Republican areas north and east of Houston.

In the 2004 election, Lampson opted to run for reelection in the 2nd District. His Republican opponent was Ted Poe, a longtime district court judge in Harris County, home to most of Houston. Poe defeated Lampson, 56%-43%.[10] Though Beaumont and Jefferson County gave Lampson a majority, he was swamped in the Harris County portion of the district, which supported Poe with 70% of the vote.


Just months into his first term, a family in Lampson's district suffered a widely publicized tragedy. A 12-year-old girl from Friendswood was abducted on April 3, 1997 and found murdered two weeks later on April 20. Lampson established the first-ever Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, which now numbers more than 120 members from both parties. Bob Smither, the father of the murdered girl, would become Lampson's Libertarian opponent in the 2006 election. The Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus is credited with nationalizing the successful AMBER Alert system. Lampson sponsored legislation to fund law enforcement efforts to stop child pornography and exploitation on the Internet.

Lampson was also active in other issue-oriented Congressional caucuses, including Manufactured Housing, Correctional Officers, I-69 Highway, Coast Guard, Coastal, Human Rights, Spina Bifida, Cancer, Asian and Pacific American and Arts. He also served as the chairman of the Congressional Study Group on Germany.

Lampson was a moderate Texas Democrat. He opposed abortion, gun control and same-sex marriage. But, on most economic and environmental matters, he usually voted with his party.

Committee assignments

Later congressional career (2007-2009)



On May 4, 2005, Lampson announced his candidacy in Texas's 22nd congressional district, which had been held by DeLay for 20 years. In the 2003 redistricting, DeLay drew much of Lampson's former territory into his own 22nd district, including part of Galveston County (but not Galveston city) and the Johnson Space Center. Lampson had briefly considered a so-called "kamikaze" run against DeLay. He moved to Stafford, a city halfway between Houston and Sugar Land, where he had family connections (see above).

Conservative media pundits criticized Lampson's decision to run in the 22nd. Fred Barnes of Fox News Channel called him "a carpetbagger" who "moved into" DeLay's district. However, Lampson had represented all of the 22nd's portion of Galveston County, as well as part of its share of Houston, during his first stint in Congress. Also, as mentioned above, he had family connections in the district.

The 22nd had long been considered a solidly Republican district, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+15. A Democratic presidential candidate had not carried the district since the Texan Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election. Democrats had not held the congressional seat since after the 1978 election. The 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul had held the seat as a Republican before DeLay took over in 1985. Historically, among districts in the Houston area, only the 7th District has been considered more Republican.

DeLay, who was then the House Majority Leader, was seen as vulnerable. He had only won reelection by 14 points in 2004 against a relatively unknown Democrat who spent virtually no money—an unusually close margin for a party leader. Many experts believed that as a result of DeLay's attempts to make the other Houston-area districts more Republican, his own district was more competitive than the one he'd represented for his first 10 terms in Congress. Most importantly, DeLay had been investigated for corruption and was indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges. DeLay denies all allegations and a Texas judge dismissed the former charge in late 2006; still, this damaged DeLay's credibility in the campaign.[11]

On April 4, 2006, DeLay withdrew his candidacy for the upcoming November midterm elections in the face of questions about his ethics;[12] he cited troubling poll numbers as the reason.[13] Lampson announced on August 17, 2006, that three major police associations had endorsed him: the National Association of Police Organizations, the International Union of Police Associations, and the Texas State Police Coalition.

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced on August 29, 2006, that a special election would take place for the balance of DeLay's 11th term, coinciding with the general election on November 7, 2006. This meant that voters voted once in the special election for a candidate to fill DeLay's seat during the lame-duck session of the 109th Congress, and voted a second time for a candidate to represent the district in the 109th Congress. Lampson ran only for the full term, facing Republican Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.

On September 22, 2006, National Rifle Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars both supported Lampson in the 2006 election.

Three national political journals—the Cook Political Report, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, and Congressional Quarterly—rated the race as Leans Democratic. On October 30, 2006, a Zogby poll commissioned by the Houston Chronicle-KHOU-TV was released, showing the write-in candidate, Sekula-Gibbs, at 27.9 percent and Lampson at 36 percent, with nearly 25 percent still undecided.[15]

Lampson defeated Sekula-Gibbs in the November 7, 52 to 42 percent, with the remaining 6 percent going to Libertarian Bob Smither. He officially returned to Congress on January 4, 2007. But, Delay was still on the ballot as the official Republican candidate (Democrats successfully sued to prevent Sekula-Gibbs' from replacing Delay on the ballot, forcing her to run a write-in campaign). Meanwhile, Sekula-Gibbs ran unopposed in the special election. This caused confusion for many voters, who were told repeatedly "write in Sekula-Gibbs" but then found her name on the ballot. This resulted in a large (but unreleased) number of excluded votes for Tom Delay in the general election. Numerous ballots were discarded, including all straight-party votes and direct votes for Delay. This caused a small outcry of resentment from supporters of Sekula-Gibbs, who felt the election was stolen and their votes disfranchised.

The two elections held on the same day resulted in Sekula-Gibbs winning to serve the last two months of DeLay's term, while Lampson won the seat for a full term, starting in January 2007.


Lampson faced reelection in 2008 against Pete Olson, an attorney and a former aide to Senators Phil Gramm and John Cornyn. Despite the perception that the district was more competitive than the one DeLay represented for his first 10 terms, the 22nd was considered a heavily Republican district. It gave Bush 64 percent of the vote in 2004. By most accounts, it was one of the few realistic chances for a Republican challenger to unseat a Democrat in what was forecast to be a bleak year for Republicans.

Olson and Lampson agreed to a debate on the issues on October 20, 2008, in Rosenberg, Texas.[16]

An October 22, 2008, poll by John Zogby and the Houston Chronicle said that Olson had a 17 point lead over Lampson.[17][18][19]

On October 30, 2008, Larry Sabato predicted Lampson's Congressional race to be a "Republican Pick Up" with Olson defeating Lampson.[20]

On November 4, 2008, Olson defeated Lampson with 52.5% of the vote to Lampson's 45.3%. Lampson carried the Galveston County portion of the district, but could not overcome a 15,900-vote deficit in Harris County.


Upon returning to Congress in 2007, Lampson re-formed the bipartisan Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus with Republican Steve Chabot of Ohio.

Lampson petitioned Congress to approve more funding for NASA.[21] The U.S. Chamber of Commerce awarded him the "Spirit of Enterprise" award in April 2008.[22]

Committee assignments

As per normal practice for returning members of Congress, the Democrats gave Lampson back his committee seniority. As a result, he became Chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

2012 congressional election

After 14th District U.S. Congressman Ron Paul decided that he would not run for re-election to Congress in order to focus on his presidential campaign, Lampson filed papers to run for Congress in that 14th District.[23] The 14th had been shifted well to the east in redistricting, and now included roughly 85 percent of the territory Lampson had represented during his first stint in Congress. Notably, Beaumont and Galveston, the largest cities in Lampson's old district, were now in the 14th.[24] Lampson won the May 29, 2012 primary with 83.23% of the vote and faced State Rep. Randy Weber in the November 6th general election. Lampson was defeated by Weber on November 6, 2012 by a 53% to 45% margin.[25]

Outside of politics

Lampson has worked on seniors' issues at the local and national levels as a director of the Area Agency on Aging. He served as a delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Aging.

Lampson has also been active in local groups such as the American Heart Association, Land Manor (a rehabilitation facility), and the Young Men's Business League. He chaired the 1995 Bishop's Faith Appeal and was recognized as the Outstanding Young Man of Beaumont in 1978 by the Texas Jaycees. He is also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

Personal life

Lampson has been married to Susan Floyd Lampson, since 1972. They have two grown daughters, Hillary and Stephanie, and six grandchildren. He and his family reside in Beaumont.

Lampson underwent a successful quadruple bypass surgery on March 25, 2007 at the Texas Heart Institute.

Electoral history

Texas's 9th congressional district: Results 1996–2002[26]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1996 Nick Lampson * 83,782 44% Steve Stockman * 88,171 46% Geraldine Sam Democratic 17,887 9%
1996 Nick Lampson 59,225 53% Steve Stockman 52,870 47%
1998 Nick Lampson 86,055 64% Tom Cottar 49,107 36%
2000 Nick Lampson 130,143 59% Paul Williams 87,165 40% F. Charles Knipp Libertarian 2,508 1%
2002 Nick Lampson 86,710 59% Paul Williams 59,635 40% Dean L. Tucker Libertarian 1,613 1%
* The 1996 election took place in two parts: an open special primary election on November 5, 1996, concurrent with the general election, followed by a runoff between the two highest vote-getters that took place on December 10, 1996 (as neither Lampson nor Stockman gained 50% of the vote). This was because a three-judge court of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas redrew the boundaries of districts 18, 29, and 30, and redrew portions of districts 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 22, 24, 25, and 26. The District Court further ordered that the candidates in these districts who have filed by August 30, 1996 and been certified by September 5, 1996 would compete in the open primary special election due to the lack of time for a normal primary. See Bush v. Vera.
Texas's 2nd congressional district: 2004 results[26]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2004 Nick Lampson 108,156 43% Ted Poe 139,951 56% Sandra Leigh Saulsbury Libertarian 3,931 2%
Texas's 22nd congressional district: Results 2006–2008[26][27]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2006 (no candidate) Shelley Sekula-Gibbs 76,924 62% Bob Smither Libertarian 23,425 19% Steve Stockman Republican 13,600 11% *
2006 Nick Lampson 76,775 52% (no candidate) Shelley Sekula-Gibbs Write-in 61,938 42% Bob Smither Libertarian 9,009 6% *
2008 Nick Lampson 139,879 45% Pete Olson 161,600 52% John Wieder Libertarian 6,823 2%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In the 2006 special election for the remaining two months of DeLay's term, Republican Don Richardson received 7,405 votes and Republican Giannibicego Hoa Tran received 2,568 votes. In the 2006 general election, Don Richardson received 428 votes and Joe Reasbeck received 89 votes.


  1. ^ Gamboa, Suzanne (November 5, 2008). "Olson upends Lampson in closely watched race". Dallas Morning News (Associated Press). Retrieved 5 November 2008. 
  2. ^ Pinkerton, James. "GOP's Weber beats Lampson in race to succeed Ron Paul", Houston Chronicle, November 7, 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ CBS News article
  10. ^
  11. ^ Toronto Global and Mail article
  12. ^ MSNBC
  13. ^ Galveston Daily News
  14. ^ National Journal article
  15. ^ Kristen Mack, "Write-in for DeLay spot has a shot", Houston Chronicle, October 30, 2006
  16. ^ "Lampson, Olson Scheduled To Debate In Rosenberg At Chamber Event". June 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  17. ^ Anand, Easha (October 28, 2008). "Down the Homestretch: Texas’s 22nd District (Democratic Incumbent)". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  18. ^ Thurlkill, Jason (October 27, 2008). "Houston Chronicle/Zogby: Olson has 17 point lead over Lampson, Culberson holding off Skelly". Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  19. ^ "Houston Politics" (PDF). Zogby International (Houston Chronicle). October 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  20. ^ Sabato, Larry (October 30, 2008). "The Last Word--Almost". Rassamussen Reports. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  21. ^ Houston Chronicle article
  22. ^ Congressman Nick Lampson's Office
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Pinkerton, James. GOP's Weber beats Lampson in race to succeed Ron Paul, Houston Chronicle, November 7, 2012.
  26. ^ a b c "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  27. ^ "2008 General Election Results". Secretary of State (State of Texas). November 4, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008. 

External links

  • Official U.S. Congressional campaign site
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Steve Stockman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Al Green
Preceded by
Shelley Sekula-Gibbs
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 22nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Pete Olson
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