In elevating California Rep. David Dreier as a temporary replacement for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (search), the GOP is turning to a congressman with fewer sharp edges.
Dreier, 53, a 13-term Republican from suburban San Dimas east of Los Angeles, is outgoing and friendly where DeLay can be prickly.
Skilled at one-on-one politics — he seems never to forget a name — Dreier maintains a reliably conservative voting record on economic issues and follows the lead of Republican leaders. He never comes off as extreme.
He faced a surprisingly difficult re-election campaign last year when the hosts of a conservative talk radio show in Los Angeles criticized him for what they said was his failure to support tough anti-immigration measures. Dreier has supported President Bush's guest worker program. He won re-election to his House seat with just under 54 percent of the vote, down from 64 percent in 2002.
A native of Kansas City, Mo., Dreier is unmarried.