17 things about Michael Steele
1. Steele was born at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County, Md., Oct. 19, 1958.
2. Adopted as an infant, he grew up in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School, where he was class president senior year and voted "Man of the Year."
3. One of the first in his family to go to college, he earned a bachelor's degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University, then a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
4. Steele also spent a few years at the Augustinian Friars Seminary at Villanova University, in preparation for the priesthood, before deciding instead on a career in civil service.
5. He grew up in a family of Democrats. Photographs of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. hung on the living-room wall.
6. Steele credits his mother, Maebell, and Ronald Reagan with turning him toward the Republican Party. Reagan's pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps message was a trait Steele's mother exhibited after her first husband, Steele's father, died in 1962 of alcoholism-related liver disease. She refused to go on welfare. Instead, she went to work as a laundress earning minimum wage to support Michael and his sister.
7. Steele's stepfather, John Turner, used to work as a limousine driver in Washington, D.C., and on occasion drove Robert F. Kennedy around town.
8. After graduating from law school in 1991, Steele joined an international law firm based in Washington, D.C. Work took him to Tokyo, where he learned some Japanese.
9. In 1997, he left his high-paying corporate job, realizing he would never make partner, and worked briefly at a real-estate development firm as in-house counsel. He then went out on his own, starting a consulting firm, the Steele Group.
10. Early in his political days, he attended a Prince George's County Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner. He was ostracized at the event. Only Elizabeth Dole, then transportation secretary, would talk with him. It was then that he decided to enter politics. "I knew the only way to change the Republican Party was to get involved and turn this party around to make it more warm and welcoming," he says.
11. Steele rose quickly up the Republican Party ladder, starting at the local level in Prince George's County, then moving up to the state level. He was the Maryland State Republican Man on the Year in 1995, an alternate delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention, and a delegate to the 2000 Republican National Conventions. He was elected chairman of the Maryland Republican Party in December 2000.
12. Steele became the first African-American elected to statewide office in Maryland, taking office as lieutenant governor in January 2003. He's currently the only sitting African-American lieutenant governor in the country.
13. Steele was tapped to speak at the 2004 Republican National Convention, eliciting comparisons to Barack Obama's keynote address at the Democratic convention.
14. When Sen. Paul Sarbanes, a Democrat, announced he would not seek re-election, several prominent Republicans, including President Bush, persuaded Steele to run.
15. Republicans have come out in full force supporting Steele's bid for the Senate. President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and ex-White House Chief of Staff Andy Card have all appeared at fund-raisers.
16. Steele's sister, Monica, was married to boxer Mike Tyson but filed for divorce in 2002.
17. A devout Catholic, Steele is a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Landover Hills, Md. He regularly attends services with his wife, Andrea, and their two teenage sons, Michael and Drew.