Rep. Steve Driehaus (D)
Elected: 2008, 1st term.
Born: June 24, 1966, Cincinnati .
Education: Miami U., B.A. 1988; Indiana U., M.P.A., 1995.
Family: Married (Lucienne); 3 children.
Elected office: OH House, 2000-08, Minority whip, 2005-08
Professional Career: Community organizer
The new congressman from the 1st District is Steve Driehaus, a Democrat who defeated seven-term Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in a contest that became a symbol of how far giddy Democrats could go in plundering GOP seats in 2008.
|Steve Driehaus (D)||155,455||(52%)||($1,447,544)|
|Steve Chabot (R)||140,683||(47%)||($2,410,292)|
|Steve Driehaus (D)||Unopposed|
The fifth of eight children, Driehaus (DREE house) ran for the seat his father sought unsuccessfully 40 years earlier. His father was the late Don “Dreamy” Driehaus, a salesman and longtime fixture in Cincinnati politics. The younger Driehaus attributes his zeal for public service to his father. He graduated from Miami University in Ohio and got a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Indiana. After spending a year abroad in Europe during college, Driehaus worked in Senegal as a Peace Corps volunteer. As a result of his time there, Driehaus speaks Wolof, Senegal’s dominant language, which actually comes in handy for him: The Cincinnati area experienced an influx of Senegalese immigrants during the past decade. Now in his early 40s, Driehaus spent most of his career as a state legislator. He also was an aide to former Democratic Rep. Charles Luken, and worked as a community organizer at Cincinnati’s Xavier University. He was elected in 2000 to the state House of Representatives and in 2005 was chosen as minority whip.
The race for the 1st District seat was expensive. Both Republican and Democratic congressional campaign committees poured money into the contest, with the Democrats doling out over $1 million for television ads and the Republicans spending about $400,000. Chabot surpassed Driehaus in the money chase, spending $900,000 more. The two traded barbs over taxes and the bailout legislation for the financial services industry. Citing the many local home foreclosures, Driehaus criticized Chabot for voting against the financial rescue plan but stopped short of saying he would have supported the bill. Republicans ran an ad attacking Driehaus for missing a vote in the Ohio Legislature on a bill providing help to families facing foreclosure to attend a fundraiser in Washington. A battle-tested pol, Chabot had managed to fend off several vigorous challengers over his 14 years in the House. Obama’s success in turning out new voters in the district and its changing demographics, including a 28% African-American population in the district, favored Driehaus. He won 52%-47% overall, a margin of more than 14,000 votes.
An anti-abortion-rights, fiscally conservative Catholic, Driehaus calls himself a “raging moderate” interested in housing and tax reform. “I tend to be very open-minded on a whole host of issues,” he said, adding that he worked closely with Republican leaders in Columbus. “I know what it’s like to be on the minority side.” In the House, Driehaus got seats on the Financial Services Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In March 2009, the House passed Driehaus’ first bill. It directs the U.S. archivist to establish a universal system for classifying federal documents to eliminate pseudo-classifications, such as “for official use only,” which certain federal agencies used to prevent private citizens from accessing information.