Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2000, 7th term.

Born: August 24, 1956, Houston, TX

Home: Houston, TX

Education: Southern Methodist U., B.A. 1981, S. TX Col. of Law, J.D. 1988

Professional Career: Jim Culberson Advertising, 1981-85; Practicing atty., 1988-2000.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Methodist

Family: Married (Belinda Burney) , 1 child

John Culberson, a conservative first elected in 2000, calls himself a “Jeffersonian Republican” and is passionate about transferring power from the federal to local governments. He’s also an appropriator with an interest in NASA, a major presence in his district.

Culberson grew up in Houston, the son of the owner of an advertising agency. He graduated from Southern Methodist University, South Texas College of Law, and then worked as a civil defense lawyer. In 1986, at age 29, Culberson won a seat in the Texas House, where he served for 14 years. In 2000, Republican Rep. Bill Archer, Bush’s successor in the House, retired after being forced to give up the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee by Republican term limits. The front-runners in the GOP primary were Culberson and Peter Wareing, a Houston merchant banker and son-in-law of Texas oilman Jack Blanton. Culberson led Wareing in the first round 38%-27%. Wareing spent nearly $4 million to Culberson’s $650,000, but Culberson had an extensive grassroots campaign and won the runoff four weeks later 60%-40%. The general election was no contest in this GOP-dominant district.

Culberson likes to say that his goal is to “let Texans run Texas.” He ranks among the House’s most conservative members, especially on social issues. When Houston veterans groups accused a Veterans’ Administration official in 2011 of banning religious speech—including the words “Jesus” and “God”—during services at the cemetery there, an angry Culberson vowed to zero out the official’s salary. VA officials said the claims were inaccurate, but transferred the woman to another job. He cosponsored Florida GOP Rep. Bill Posey’s 2009 “birther” bill requiring future presidential candidates to offer proof of citizenship in response to far-right theories, repeatedly proven false, that President Barack Obama was born overseas.

During the final days of the 2010 health care debate, he attended a Capitol Hill rally of the bill’s opponents and tossed loose pages of the 2,000-page document to the crowd. Like his predecessor, Archer, he dreams of junking the current tax system and replacing it with a national sales tax. Culberson sometimes goes his own way. He ruffled feathers as one of only two Texas Republicans to oppose the $400 billion Medicare expansion of 2003.

An amateur astronomer and self-proclaimed science buff, Culberson is an enthusiast for NASA and has an interest in nanotechnology research, which is a specialty at Rice. He sponsored a bill in 2012 to give the space agency’s administrator a 10-year term similar to that given to the FBI’s director, which he said would promote better planning. And in February 2013, he called for restructuring NASA, saying it lacked vision. He joined several conservatives in getting a provision into a 2011 spending measure that banned NASA from collaborating with China’s scientists.

Culberson was once an avid fan of Twitter and in 2009, was the House’s top user of the social media account, according to a University of Maryland study. But in recent years he has preferred Facebook, which he said draws fewer deliberately provocative “trolls.” He was an early proponent of requiring the House to post all non-emergency legislation online at least 72 hours before debate, a rules change that Republicans enacted in 2011.

Culberson has a coveted spot on Appropriations, which he has used to secure money for projects in his district, including medical research, flood control projects, and improvements to the Houston Ship Channel. He has fought with Houston officials who wanted money for local light rail projects, filing a formal objection with the Federal Transit Administration in December 2009 to stop a light-rail line because he said the local transit agency was in precarious financial shape—a charge agency officials said was based on outdated information. When he sought in 2012 to block funds from going to an expansion of two rail lines, the Houston Chronicle’s editorial page rebuked him for “trying to impose his own rules rather than work with local leaders.”

In 2008, Culberson faced his first well-financed Democratic challenger. Wind energy executive Michael Skelly spent nearly $3.1 million, including $1 million of his own money. Culberson spent a relatively modest $1.8 million. Skelly criticized Culberson’s lack of support for alternative energy and said he was not sufficiently helpful to the space program, citing Culberson’s call to reduce the bureaucracy at NASA, which employs about 20,000 people locally. Culberson ran as a strong social and fiscal conservative and won, 56%-42%. Since then, he has had no trouble winning reelection.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(281) 304-0093

(202) 225-4381

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2372
Washington, DC 20515-4307

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2571

(202) 225-4381

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2372
Washington, DC 20515-4307

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-2571

(202) 225-4381

10000 Memorial Drive Suite 620
Houston, TX 77024-3490

DISTRICT OFFICE

(713) 682-8828

(713) 680-8070

10000 Memorial Drive Suite 620
Houston, TX 77024-3490

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-2571

(202) 225-4381

PO Box 41964
Houston, TX 77241-1964

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 41964
Houston, TX 77241-1964

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Lauren Fleming
Legislative Assistant

Aerospace

Catherine Knowles
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Agriculture

Lauren Fleming
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Catherine Knowles
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Budget

Catherine Knowles
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Education

Lauren Fleming
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Lauren Fleming
Legislative Assistant

Health

Lauren Fleming
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Scott Mackenzie
Legislative Assistant

Housing

Lauren Fleming
Legislative Assistant

Scott Mackenzie
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Scott Mackenzie
Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Catherine Knowles
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Labor

Lauren Fleming
Legislative Assistant

Military

Scott Mackenzie
Legislative Assistant

Science

Catherine Knowles
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

Small Business

Lauren Fleming
Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Lauren Fleming
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Scott Mackenzie
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Scott Mackenzie
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Lauren Fleming
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Scott Mackenzie
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
John Culberson
Votes: 90,422
Percent: 63.28%
James Cargas
Votes: 49,341
Percent: 34.53%
2012 GENERAL
John Culberson
Votes: 142,793
Percent: 60.81%
James Cargas
Votes: 85,553
Percent: 36.43%
2012 PRIMARY
John Culberson
Votes: 37,590
Percent: 86.29%
Bill Tofte
Votes: 5,971
Percent: 13.71%
2010 GENERAL
John Culberson
Votes: 143,655
Percent: 81.45%
Bob Townsend
Votes: 31,704
Percent: 17.98%
2010 PRIMARY
John Culberson
Votes: 43,567
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
John Culberson
Votes: 162,635
Percent: 55.9%
Michael Skelly
Votes: 123,242
Percent: 42.36%
2008 PRIMARY
John Culberson
Votes: 44,477
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (81%), 2008 (56%), 2006 (59%), 2004 (64%), 2002 (89%), 2000 (74%)

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