Rep. David Dreier (R)
Elected: 1980, 15th term.
Born: July 5, 1952, Kansas City, MO .
Home: San Dimas.
Education: Claremont McKenna Col., B.A. 1975, Claremont Grad. Schl., M.A. 1976.
Religion: Christian Scientist.
Professional Career: Corp. pelations dir., Claremont McKenna Col., 1976–78; Mktg. dir., Industrial Hydrocarbons, 1978–80; V.P., Dreier Development Co., 1985–present.
The congressman from the 26th District is David Dreier, an influential Republican first elected in 1980. Dreier (DRY-er) grew up in Kansas City, Mo., the son of a former Marine Corps drill instructor who ran a real-estate investment firm. Dreier spent a decade mostly on the Claremont McKenna campus, first as a student and then as an administrator, before he was elected to Congress. He first ran in 1978, at age 25, and lost to Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Lloyd. Two years later, he beat Lloyd. Dreier personifies the intellectually rigorous conservatism and free-market economics that have thrived at Claremont, and he maintains a California-style cheerfulness and good humor. He has been a powerful force for Republicans on the Rules Committee, the leadership-driven panel that sets the ground rules for debate on every important bill that comes to the House floor. A procedural rule can mean the difference between success and failure of a bill on the floor. As Rules chairman from 1999 to 2006, he was a top lieutenant of Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert.
|David Dreier (R)||140,615||(53%)||($2,919,351)|
|Russ Warner (D)||108,039||(40%)||($1,334,171)|
|Ted Brown (Lib)||18,476||(7%)|
|David Dreier (R)||29,627||(74%)|
|Sonny Sardo (R)||10,158||(26%)|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (57%), 2004 (54%), 2002 (64%), 2000 (57%), 1998 (58%), 1996 (61%), 1994 (67%), 1992 (58%), 1990 (64%), 1988 (69%), 1986 (72%), 1984 (71%), 1982 (65%), 1980 (52%)
In that time, Dreier’s committee produced hundreds of rules, and he lost only two fights over them on the House floor. He also led a bipartisan review that reduced the number of standing House rules from 51 to 28. After September 11, he helped establish the Homeland Security Committee. In 2003, he pushed through rules changes to allow the speaker to adjust the number of House members required for a quorum in the case of a catastrophic attack on the capital. Dreier has long maintained that regularly occurring vacancies should be filled by special elections rather than by appointments by governors, as they are in the Senate. After the controversy in 2009 over the potentially tainted appointment of Illinois Sen. Roland Burris by Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Dreier assembled a bipartisan group to promote a constitutional amendment to require election of senators to all vacancies. Blagojevich was impeached and charged by federal prosecutors with trying to sell the Senate seat.
When Republicans lost the majority in 2006, Dreier became the ranking Republican on Rules. He has frequently clashed with Democratic Chairman Louise Slaughter of New York, and has shown a new zest in challenging the Democrats’ procedural moves and occasionally outmaneuvering them.
His voting record is mostly conservative, though it’s more centrist on cultural issues. His policy agenda is free trade, promotion of high technology and issues related to diminishing water supplies in the San Gabriel Valley. In the late 1990s, he was the chief advocate of normalizing trade relations with China and led the fight for many months. In 2001 and 2002, he worked to pass a measure giving the president wide authority to negotiate free-trade deals. It was enacted in 2002. On high-tech issues, he was a leading sponsor of legislation increasing the number of visas for high-technology workers from overseas. In 2005, with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., Dreier won enactment of the “Real ID” bill to prevent states from issuing drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants.
In 2005, after Republican Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas was forced to step down as majority leader amid an ethics scandal, Hastert wanted to name Dreier as acting majority leader. But conservatives objected to Dreier as insufficiently conservative on cultural issues, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt privately urged Hastert to give the position to him. Hastert agreed, and Dreier was given additional duties in coordinating the leadership’s outreach to committee chairmen. In February 2006, when Republican John Boehner of Ohio was elected by Republicans to permanently replace DeLay, Dreier was assigned to push lobbying and ethics reforms. The House passed the bill.
Dreier took the lead for California Republicans on redistricting in 2001 and reached an agreement with Democratic redistricter Michael Berman under which 19 of the 20 Republican incumbents got safe districts and the GOP got a newly created seat in return for Republican support in the Legislature. That helped Dreier, whose district was becoming more Hispanic and more Democratic. He supported Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor in the recall election in 2003 and appeared with him at almost every campaign rally. In the six weeks between Schwarzenegger’s election and his inauguration, Dreier acted as head of his 65-member transition team in Sacramento.
After decades without a serious re-election contest, Dreier was opposed in the 2004 primary by a conservative who attacked him on the issues of trade and illegal immigration. Dreier won easily. But then two Los Angeles radio talk-show hosts, critical of his moderate positions on illegal immigration, launched a “Fire Dreier” campaign. In September, they held a rally outside Dreier’s office with his Democratic opponent, Cynthia Matthews. She spent only $26,000 on her challenge, while Dreier spent over $1.3 million. He won, 54%-43%. In a 2006 rematch, he defeated Matthews 57%-38%.
In 2008, businessman Russ Warner was the Democratic challenger and spent $1.2 million. Republicans sent out flyers citing tax problems in Warner’s business dealings. Dreier won 53%-40%, with comfortable margins in each of the district’s two counties. Those contests, plus the changing demographics of his district, could embolden Democratic redistricters to force Dreier into new territory in 2012.