The Scan — October 2, 2013

National Journal
Olga Belogolova
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Olga Belogolova
Oct. 1, 2013, 3:24 p.m.

Vi­tal Stat­ist­ics

  • Born: Janu­ary 22, 1953
  • Fam­ily: Mar­ried, Donna Chabot; two chil­dren
  • Re­li­gion: Ro­man Cath­ol­ic
  • Edu­ca­tion: Col­lege of Wil­li­am & Mary, B.A., 1975; North­ern Ken­tucky Uni­versity, J.D., 1978
  • Ca­reer: Law­yer, Neigh­bor­hood Law Prac­tice, 1978-94; teach­er, St. Joseph School, 1975-76
  • Elec­ted Of­fice: U.S. House 1995-2009; Hamilton County Com­mis­sion, 1990-94; Cin­cin­nati City Coun­cil, 1985-90

Re­pub­lic­an Steve Chabot won his old House seat back by beat­ing Demo­crat Steve Driehaus, who had ous­ted Chabot from the Cin­cin­nati-based seat two years ago. Driehaus had trouble gen­er­at­ing much voter ex­cite­ment for his reelec­tion, and in Oc­to­ber the Demo­crat­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee pulled the plug on fur­ther spend­ing on tele­vi­sion ads for him.

Chabot grew up in the Cin­cin­nati area and gradu­ated from La Salle High School, where he be­came in­ter­ested in polit­ics. He says he “got the bug” after serving on the stu­dent coun­cil. Then came the Wa­ter­gate scan­dal. “A lot of people my age got turned off from polit­ics be­cause of all that,” Chabot said. “I wasn’t that way. I thought we needed hon­est people in gov­ern­ment.” He went on to earn a de­gree in his­tory and phys­ic­al edu­ca­tion from the Col­lege of Wil­li­am & Mary. He then took night classes at North­ern Ken­tucky Uni­versity while teach­ing at an ele­ment­ary school dur­ing the day. Chabot won a seat on the Cin­cin­nati City Coun­cil, where he served for four years; he fol­lowed that with a four-year stint on the Hamilton County Com­mis­sion. Dur­ing that time, Chabot said, he tried to find in­nov­at­ive ways to re­duce the cost of gov­ern­ment, such as us­ing jail in­mates for pub­lic ser­vice.

In 1994, he was among the con­ser­vat­ive Re­pub­lic­ans who suc­cess­fully ran for Con­gress and ended 40 years of Demo­crat­ic con­trol of the House. In his 14 years on Cap­it­ol Hill, Chabot took prin­cipled and polit­ic­ally risky stands op­pos­ing fed­er­al spend­ing on pro­jects in his dis­trict and was a con­ser­vat­ive lead­er on so­cial is­sues, par­tic­u­larly abor­tion rights. In 2003, he helped en­act a ban on “par­tial-birth” abor­tions, and he also pushed a bill to pre­vent minors from cross­ing state lines to get abor­tions. Chabot was a House man­ager dur­ing the 1998 im­peach­ment of Pres­id­ent Clin­ton. In ret­ro­spect, Chabot said in an in­ter­view with The Al­man­ac of Amer­ic­an Polit­ics, he is most proud of his work in fight­ing waste­ful spend­ing. “I’ve been known as a real fisc­al budget hawk.”

Chabot lost his seat in 2008, when Driehaus de­feated him by 5 per­cent­age points as the Demo­crats in­creased their con­gres­sion­al ma­jor­ity; he had been spoil­ing for a re­match ever since. In the cam­paign this year, Chabot cri­ti­cized the in­cum­bent for vot­ing with the Demo­crat­ic ma­jor­ity on Pres­id­ent Obama’s health care ini­ti­at­ive and the $787 bil­lion eco­nom­ic-stim­u­lus pack­age. “I’m for less gov­ern­ment, re­strain­ing the growth of gov­ern­ment and spend­ing. I’m for people hav­ing per­son­al con­trol of their own lives,” Chabot said. He em­phas­ized help for small busi­ness. “That’s been the eco­nom­ic en­gine of growth,” he said. “In the past, we’ve al­ways re­war­ded suc­cess. I won­der if Con­gress has some sort of dis­dain for suc­cess. That’s why the eco­nomy hasn’t bounced back like it usu­ally does.”

For his part, Driehaus de­fen­ded the work that Demo­crats have done dur­ing the past two years, in­clud­ing the health care over­haul, which he called “the right thing” to do. On the stump, he asked voters to give Obama and the Demo­crats more time to im­ple­ment change. In one ad, he said: “People are go­ing to work. We’re in­vest­ing in jobs of the fu­ture.”

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