Olson tops Sekula Gibbs in Texas runoff

Former Senate aide Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonPrivacy legislation could provide common ground for the newly divided Congress Midterm results shake up national map GOP lawmaker Olson holds on in Texas district MORE won the Republican primary runoff Tuesday, earning the chance to take on Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) in November and setting up one of the top House races in the country in a conservative Houston district.

Olson led former Rep. Shelley Sekula Gibbs 68-32 with 49 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results from the Texas Secretary of State. The Associated Press has called the race for Olson.

“Nick Lampson better find himself a flashlight because his reelection chances are quickly growing dim,” said Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, adding that “Pete Olson has proven himself to be one of the top Republican challengers in the country and we believe he has exactly what it takes to win in November.”

Lampson triumphed over the write-in candidacy of Sekula Gibbs in 2006 after it was too late for her to replace former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on the ballot.

National GOP leaders, including most of the state’s Republican House delegation and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), openly supported the candidacy of Olson, a former chief of staff to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Many of them felt Sekula Gibbs was a weak candidate who, after her short time in Congress, received poor reviews. DeLay’s staff walked out on Sekula Gibbs when she showed up in Washington, alleging mistreatment.

Sekula Gibbs won a special election to serve between Election Day 2006 and Lampson’s swearing in but lost the general election.

Olson overcame a 28-24 deficit in a crowded GOP primary to make the runoff. He will now face Lampson in a district that went heavily for President Bush in 2004 and is a top target for Republicans.

“Congressman Lampson is an independent effective leader for his district,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement. “He is in a strong position to win reelection because he has built a relationship with the people of his district and is fighting for their priorities like increased NASA funding and border security in Congress.”