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John Culberson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Culberson
John Culberson official portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 7th district
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byBill Archer
Succeeded byLizzie Fletcher
Personal details
John Abney Culberson

(1956-08-24) August 24, 1956 (age 63)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationSouthern Methodist University (BA)
South Texas College of Law (JD)

John Abney Culberson (born August 24, 1956) is an American attorney and politician who served in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2019. A Republican, he served in Texas's 7th congressional district in large portions of western Houston and surrounding Harris County.

In his 2018 re-election campaign, he was defeated by Democrat Lizzie Fletcher, an attorney.

Early life, education, and career

Culberson was born in Houston, the son of Eleanor (née Abney) and James Vincent Culberson.[1] His great-grandmother was Swedish.[1] Culberson attended Lamar High School.[2][3] He graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in 1981 with a degree in history. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from South Texas College of Law in 1989.

Texas House of Representatives

During his time in law school, Culberson was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving his first term beginning in 1987. He was a member of the Republican Whip team, becoming Minority Whip in 1999 during his last term. Culberson began working for the law firm of Lorance and Thompson as a civil defense attorney after he graduated from law school.[4]

On August 1, 2008, to protest the House going into summer recess without discussing a pending energy bill, Culberson and other House Republicans stayed to make speeches about the energy bill in question. The Democratic leadership in the House, which controls services in the chamber, responded by cutting the microphones and cameras. Culberson used social media services Twitter and Qik to provide a live account of the proceedings. Culberson later compared this episode to the Iranian government's crackdown against dissidents who used Twitter to protest a restriction on foreign media in June 2009.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives

Culberson's freshman portrait during the 107th Congress
Culberson's freshman portrait during the 107th Congress

Committee assignments




Culberson won the Republican nomination for the 7th District in 2000 after 15-term incumbent Bill Archer announced his retirement. He finished first in the Republican primary — traditionally the real contest in what has historically been a heavily Republican district – and defeated Peter Wareing in the runoff. He won easily in November, taking about 75% of the vote.


In 2008, Culberson defeated businessman Michael Peter Skelly with 56% of the vote.[8]


Culberson ran unopposed.


Culberson was challenged by the Democratic nominee James Cargas, an energy lawyer for the City of Houston, Green party nominee Lance Findley, and Libertarian Drew Parks.


In the November 4, 2014 general election, Culberson again defeated Democrat James Cargas, who polled 4,092 votes (62.1 percent) in the March 4 primary election.[9] Culberson was unopposed in the Republican primary.


Culberson defeated James Lloyd and Maria Espinoza in the Republican primary election on March 1.[10] Culberson polled 44,202 votes (57.3 percent) to James Lloyd's 19,182 (24.9 percent) and the third candidate, Maria Espinoza's 13,772 (17.8 percent).[11]

He secured his eighth term in the general election held on November 8, when, with 143,542 votes (56.2 percent), he defeated the Democrat James Cargas (born 1966) of Houston, who garnered 111,991 ballots (43.8 percent).[12]

After Hillary Clinton carried Culberson's 7th district in the 2016 presidential election, Democrats began to regard the congressman as vulnerable in 2018.[13]


Culberson defeated Edward Ziegler in the Republican primary with 76% of the vote. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher was the Democratic nominee[8] and defeated him in the general election by a 52.3% to 47.7% margin.[14] Culberson held his own in his longstanding base of west Houston, parts of which he had represented for three decades at the state and federal levels, as well as in the Memorial area. However, Fletcher out-performed him in the district's share of southwest Houston, as well as the Bear Creek area.

Culberson's defeat ended a 52-year hold on the district by the GOP. The 7th had been one of the first areas of Texas to turn Republican; as mentioned earlier it had long been considered a heavily Republican district. It was best known as the district that sent George H. W. Bush to Congress as its first representative in 1967. Bush handed the seat to Archer in 1971.

Political positions

Culberson had described himself as a "Fiscally conservative 'Jeffersonian Republican'... committed to Thomas Jefferson's vision of limited government, individual liberty, and states' rights."[15]

As of April 2018, he had voted with his party in 97.6% of votes in the 115th Congress and voted in line with President Trump's position in 98.6% of the votes.[16][17]


Culberson supported pro-life legislation.[18]


Three years after the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) had been dissolved, Culberson included language in an appropriations bill that said "None of the funds made available in this Act may be distributed to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its subsidiaries or successors."[19]


Culberson generally opposed an income tax increase, opposed reducing defense spending in order to balance the budget, opposed federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth, and supported lowering corporate taxes as a means of promoting economic growth.[18]

Disaster relief

Culberson was the only Texas Republican to support the $50.7 billion relief effort after Hurricane Sandy.[20] As a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Culberson has been active in seeking aid in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.[21][22][23]

Donald Trump

Culberson was the first person to endorse Ted Cruz in the 2016 U.S. presidential primaries.[24] In June 2016, Culberson said "I always have and always will support the Republican nominee. The party should unify behind the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, to defeat Hillary Clinton."[25]

In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the House to request 10 years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.[26] He supports the construction of a wall along the Mexican border, and supports requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship.[18]

Culberson supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to suspend the refugee resettlement program and curtail immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that "This is a necessary pause in the refugee program until our intelligence agencies can develop adequate background checks to ensure that the people coming into the country are coming in for the right reasons."[27]


Culberson has rejected the scientific consensus on climate change.[28][29] He has alleged that scientists have falsified climate change data.[28][30][31] He has said that "the liberal obsession with climate change... is driven by their desire to raise more money for the government".[29] He opposes cap-and-trade programs and the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.[18][28] He supports government funding for the development of renewable energy.[18]

Culberson had a lifetime score of 4% from the League of Conservation Voters.[32]


In 2016, Culberson wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch threatening to block President Obama's executive order on guns by defunding the United States Department of Justice.[33]


Culberson opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and supported its repeal.[34] On May 4, 2017, Culberson voted to repeal Obamacare and pass the American Health Care Act of 2017.[35][36] The AHCA would have allowed insurers to charge seniors five times as much for health coverage than younger people (the ACA limit was three times as much) and allowed insurers to raise premiums on individuals with preexisting conditions who did not have continuous coverage.[37]

In 2013, Culberson said "like 9/11, 'let's roll!'" to describe a vote to make a delay of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a condition for funding the government.[15]

Presidential citizenship

In 2009, Culberson co-sponsored legislation which would require all future presidential candidates to provide proof of their citizenship when filing to run for office.[15] The legislation was in response to Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories which questioned the legitimacy of Barack Obama's birth certificate.[38]


Culberson marked up a 2016 spending bill to include a requirement that the National Science Foundation direct about 70% of its funding to biology, computing, engineering, and math and physical sciences. The earmarked funds would not cover geoscience and the social and behavioral sciences.[39]

In 2008, he expressed concern about foreign-born students coming to the United States to obtain advanced academic degrees and then returning to their countries of origin.[40] He opposes requiring states to adopt federal education standards.[18]


  1. ^ a b "culberson".
  2. ^ "Biography". U.S. Congressman John Culberson, 7th District of Texas. Archived from the original on March 29, 2006.
  3. ^ "Distinguished HISD Alumni Archived May 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine," Houston Independent School District
  4. ^ "U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R)". Ethics Explorer. Texas Tribune. January 31, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Zimmerman, Eric (June 17, 2009). "UPDATED: Culberson: House GOP just like Iran dissidents". The Hill. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  6. ^ "House Appropriations Committee: Subcommittees". Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  7. ^ "Members". Congressional Constitution Caucus. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Texas' 7th Congressional District". Ballotpedia. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "Democratic primary election returns". Archived from the original on March 7, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  10. ^ "Republican Party Cumulative Report" (PDF). March 1, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  11. ^ "Republican primary returns". March 1, 2016. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  12. ^ "Election Results". Texas Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  13. ^ "The One Thing Democrats Like About Trump". May 21, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017 – via
  14. ^ "U.S. House Election Results 2018". The New York Times. November 6, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c "Meet the House Republican Who Compared Himself to the Flight 93 Heroes". New Republic. September 30, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  16. ^ "Represent". ProPublica. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  17. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (January 30, 2017). "Tracking John Abney Culberson In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c d e f "John Culberson's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)". Vote Smart. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  19. ^ Carter, Zach (June 4, 2013). "House GOP Stomps Again On ACORN's Grave". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  20. ^ Dejean, Ashley (August 28, 2017). "Texas Lawmakers Who Voted Against Relief for Hurricane Sandy Now Ask For Help With Harvey". Mother Jones. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  21. ^ Livingston, Abby (January 15, 2018). "Political fallout of Hurricane Harvey could begin this year in Houston". Texas Tribune. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  22. ^ Lewis, Brooke (January 26, 2018). "Culberson, flood victims rally to show support for Hurricane Harvey bill". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  23. ^ Schneider, Andrew (February 19, 2018). "How Rep. Culberson's Seat Went From GOP Stronghold To 'Toss Up'". Houston Public Media. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  24. ^ McCabe, Dave; Feickert, Lucy (April 17, 2015). "Cruz nets first endorsement". The Hill. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  25. ^ Livingston, Abby; Daniel, Annie (June 15, 2016). "Texas Republicans in Congress Not United Behind Trump". Texas Tribune. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  26. ^ "These are all the Republicans who don't want you to see Donald Trump's tax returns". indy100. February 28, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
  27. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  28. ^ a b c Hiltzik, Michael. "Inside GOP science policy, Part 3: climate change". Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  29. ^ a b "The money chase, 2016: New head of key House science spending panel likes limited government, unlimited exploration". Science | AAAS. January 28, 2015. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  30. ^ "Rep. Culberson Challenges Scientific Integrity of Climate Data". U.S. Congressman John Culberson. December 14, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  31. ^ Culberson, John. "John Culberson - Hold Your Breath Texas". Townhall. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  32. ^ "Check out Representative John Culberson's Environmental Voting Record". League of Conservation Voters Scorecard. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  33. ^ Devaney, Tim (January 4, 2016). "Republican eyes DOJ budget to block Obama gun orders". The Hill. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  34. ^ Svitek, Patrick (March 25, 2017). "At feisty town hall, Culberson stays course on Obamacare repeal". Texas Tribune. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  35. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  36. ^ Staff, C. N. N. "How every member voted on health care bill". CNN. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  37. ^ "Voters worried about pre-existing condition protection". Houston Chronicle. September 28, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  38. ^ Sorin, Hillary (July 23, 2009). "Rep. Culberson co-sponsors "birther" bill on Capitol Hill". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  39. ^ "Key House Republican says 70% of NSF's research dollars should go to "core" science—not geo or social research". Science | AAAS. May 14, 2015. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  40. ^ "Do most Chinese students come here to steal secrets?". SciGuy. August 21, 2008. Retrieved February 26, 2017.

External links

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Milton Fox
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 125th district

Succeeded by
Sylvia Romo
Preceded by
Randy Pennington
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 130th district

Succeeded by
Bill Callegari
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bill Archer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Lizzie Fletcher
This page was last edited on 21 September 2019, at 18:34
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