Rep. Steve Scalise (R)
Elected: May 2008, 1st full term.
Born: Oct. 6, 1965, New Orleans .
Education: LA St. U., B.S., 1989.
Family: Married (Jennifer); 2 children.
Elected office: LA Legislature, 1996-2007, LA Senate, 2008.
Professional Career: Systems engineer, Diamond Data Systems, eVenture Technologies.
The congressman from the 1st District is Steve Scalise, a Republican who won a special election in May 2008 to succeed GOP Rep. Bobby Jindal, who became governor. A native of New Orleans, Scalise grew up in Metairie. When his parents gave their son a battery-powered microphone, he played town crier on his neighborhood street, decorating his bicycle in red, white and blue and calling people to the polls—the start of his political career. He majored in computer science at Louisiana State University, where he was speaker of the student assembly. After college, he settled in Jefferson Parish as a systems engineer. In 1995, when he was 30, he was elected to the state House, where he served 12 years before winning a state Senate seat in October 2007. He pushed legislation to give incentives to the motion-picture industry to produce films in Louisiana. He helped to pass a bill that made Louisiana the first state to bar cities from suing gun manufacturers for the actions of criminals. Scalise had considered running for the open seat in this district in 1999 and 2004, but deferred first to David Vitter, now a U.S. senator, then to Jindal.
|Steve Scalise (R)||189,168||(66%)||($1,628,134)|
|Jim Harlan (D)||98,839||(34%)||($2,158,185)|
|Steve Scalise (R)||Unopposed|
|Steve Scalise (R)||33,867||(75%)|
|Gilda Reed (D)||10,142||(23%)|
|Steve Scalise (R)||19,338||(58%)|
|Tim Burns (R)||13,958||(42%)|
In the special election to replace Jindal, the key contest was the April 5 Republican runoff between Scalise and state Rep. Tim Burns of Mandeville in St. Tammany. Burns cited Scalise’s opposition to a bill banning smoking in restaurants and tried to tie him to special interests. Scalise called for limits on “out-of-control spending” and said he had “the experience to hit the ground running from Day One.” Scalise won 58%-42%, capturing 83% of the Jefferson Parish vote.
The May 3 contest against Democrat Gilda Reed, a college instructor and political neophyte, was never in doubt. Scalise won 75%-23%. But the following November, when Scalise had to defend the seat in regularly scheduled congressional election, he faced a bigger challenge. Democrat Jim Harlan, a venture capitalist, sank $1.8 million of his own money into the race and was not shy about negative advertising against Scalise. In one television ad, he tried to tie Scalise to a local scandal involving a federal investigation of the abuse of tax credits by the Louisiana Institute of Film Technology. Scalise had been a sponsor of the tax-credit program when he served in the state Legislature. Scalise cited his opponent’s support of presidential candidate Barack Obama as evidence that Harlan was too liberal for the district. Scalise coasted to a 66%-34% win for a full two-year term, taking 71% in Jefferson Parish and 68% in St. Tammany, which together accounted for 71% of the total vote. In 2009, he joined the Energy and Commerce Committee, a useful assignment for this district. He called for more energy production, including offshore drilling.