David Frank Kustoff (/ˈkʌstɒf/; born October 8, 1966) is an American politician and attorney who served as a United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee from 2006 until 2008 and a United States Representative from Tennessee as a Republican.

David Kustoff
Kustoff Official Headshot.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 8th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byStephen Fincher
United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee
In office
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byTerrell Lee Harris
Succeeded byEdward L. Stanton III
Personal details
David Frank Kustoff

(1966-10-08) October 8, 1966 (age 53)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Roberta Kustoff
EducationUniversity of Memphis (B.A., J.D.)
WebsiteHouse website


David Frank Kustoff was born in Memphis, Tennessee on October 8, 1966 and raised in Shelby County, Tennessee.[1][2] He graduated from Memphis' White Station High School in 1985.[3] Kustoff attended the University of Memphis, graduating with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1989. He then attended the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, graduating in 1992.[4]

In 1998, Kustoff opened a law firm with Jim Strickland, whom he met at the University of Memphis. Both would become active in Tennessee politics; Strickland was elected Mayor of Memphis in 2015.[5]

Early politicsEdit

Kustoff became active in politics during the 1990s, in which he was chair of the Republican Party of Shelby County. He served as George W. Bush's campaign chairman in Tennessee during the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. On August 8, 2002 he was named as campaign chairman for Lamar Alexander's 2002 Senate campaign.[6] In December 2002 he criticized Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott for his praise of Strom Thurmond for the harm that it would do to Republican outreach to minorities.[7]

In 2002 Representative Ed Bryant announced that he would not seek reelection and would instead run in the Republican primary for the Senate election. On April 3, 2002 Kustoff announced that he would seek the Republican nomination for the Seventh district to succeed Bryant and in the Republican primary he received 20.24% of the vote and performed the best in the Memphis area, but was defeated by State Senator Marsha Blackburn who won with a plurality of 40.32%.[8] During the primary campaign Kustoff stated that he had an A+ rating from the NRA when in actuality the NRA had never given him a rating.[9]

United States AttorneyEdit

In 2006, President Bush appointed Kustoff the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.[3][10] During his tenure in office, Kustoff prosecuted the Operation Tennessee Waltz, after which John Ford, a prominent Tennessee politician, and others were sent to prison.[11] Kustoff also worked to reduce crime in the Memphis area, joining a group of Memphis leaders and law enforcement officials called Operation Safe Community.[12]

Kustoff resigned as U.S. Attorney shortly before the 2008 election, choosing to return to his private practice.[10]


In February 2016, Stephen Fincher announced that he would not run for re-election in Tennessee's 8th congressional district. Kustoff announced his campaign in February and began to emerge from the crowded pack when he was endorsed by former Arkansas Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who filmed ads for Kustoff and campaigned with him.[13][10][14] He narrowly won the primary with a plurality of 27.45% with Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn behind with 23.08%. Kustoff faced Democrat Rickey Hobson, a Delta Air Lines manager and Somerville, Tennessee resident. Kustoff ran an active campaign that toured the district's 15 counties and urged skeptical Republicans to support Donald Trump for the presidency.[15] Kustoff defeated Hobson in the general election.[16]

During the 2018 elections George Flinn mounted a primary challenge against Kustoff and spent millions against him, but Kustoff won with 56.00% against Flinn's 39.67%.[17]

Kustoff is a member of the Republican Study Committee.[18]

Political positionsEdit

National securityEdit

Kustoff supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that “I believe President Trump is putting American safety first, and I will encourage a long-term plan that is consistent with the values and compassion on which our great nation was founded.”[19]

Health careEdit

Kustoff voted for the American Health Care Act in May 2017. "[O]ur current health care system is failing Tennesseans", he said afterwards. Later that month, a woman angrily confronted him about that vote during a town hall meeting at the University of Tennessee at Martin; after the meeting ended and Kustoff along with some of his staff got into their car, she gave chase and allegedly attempted to run them off the road, then confronted them again about Kustoff's vote, reportedly banging on the windows of his car in the process. Police later arrested her on a felony charge of reckless endangerment.[20]

Personal lifeEdit

David Kustoff is married to Roberta Kustoff, who is also a lawyer at the Kustoff and Strickland Firm. The couple has two children.[21] He and Lee Zeldin are the only two Republican Jewish members of the House of Representatives.[22]

Kustoff served on the board of directors of BankTennessee and served as a member of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.[23][24]

Electoral historyEdit

David Kustoff electoral history
2002 Tennessee Seventh Congressional District Republican Primary[25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Marsha Blackburn 36,633 40.32%
Republican David Kustoff 18,392 20.24%
Republican Brent Taylor 14,139 15.56%
Republican Mark Norris 13,104 14.42%
Republican Forrest Shoaf 7,319 8.06%
Republican Sonny Carlota 642 0.71%
Republican Randy Starkey 628 0.69%
Republican Other 9 0.01%
Total votes 90,866 100.00%
2016 Tennessee Second Congressional District Republican Primary[26]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican David Kustoff 16,889 27.45%
Republican George Flinn 14,200 23.08%
Republican Mark Luttrell 10,878 17.68%
Republican Brian Kelsey 7,942 12.91%
Republican Brad Greer 6,819 11.08%
Republican Tom Leatherwood 2,620 4.26%
Republican Hunter Baker 1,014 1.65%
Republican Ken Atkins 410 0.67%
Republican Raymond Honeycutt 231 0.38%
Republican George B. Howell 211 0.34%
Republican David Wharton 131 0.21%
Republican Dave Bault 109 0.18%
Republican David J. Maldonado 76 0.12%
Total votes 61,530 100.00%

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). Roll Call. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  2. ^ "1987 OUTSTANDING YOUNG MEN OF AMERICA". April 4, 1987. Retrieved April 4, 2018 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b Ashby, Andrew (April 6, 2006). "Kustoff Puts Leadership Skills to the Test As Lead Prosecutor for West Tennessee". Memphis Daily News. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  4. ^ Dedrick, Blair. "Leading by example". The University of Memphis Magazine. Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  5. ^ Poe, Ryan (August 14, 2015). "Profile: Strickland runs on humor, faith". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  6. ^ "David Kustoff named campaign chairman for Lamar Alexander". The Leaf-Chronicle. August 9, 2002. p. 2. Archived from the original on December 25, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Frist denounces Lott remarks, says words aren't values of GOP". The Jackson Sun. December 13, 2013. p. 4. Archived from the original on December 25, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Attorneys from Nashville, Memphis enter campaign to replace Bryant in House". The Tennessean. April 4, 2002. p. 18. Archived from the original on December 25, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Candidate's claims stir debate". The Tennessean. July 23, 2002. p. 62. Archived from the original on December 25, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ a b c "Huckabee campaigns for David Kustoff, adding celebrity power in crowded race for Congressional seat". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  11. ^ Baird, Woody (August 28, 2007). "Ex-senator sentenced in Tennessee Waltz". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  12. ^ "Crimetracker: Joe Birch sits down with U.S. Attorney David Kustoff". wmcactionnews5.com. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  13. ^ "Congressional candidate update". The Jackson Sun. February 12, 2016. p. B1. Archived from the original on December 25, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Kustoff Victory Caps TV, Outsider Heavy Congressional Campaign". Memphis Daily News. August 8, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  15. ^ "David Kustoff Launches General Election "Kick-Off Tour" in Tennessee's 8th District – David Kustoff for Congress". Catch Digital Strategy. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  16. ^ "Kustoff wins District 8 seat". Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  17. ^ "Flinn's willingness to spend his own millions makes for competitive race vs. Kustoff in District 8". July 25, 2018.
  18. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  19. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  20. ^ Nashrulla, Tasneem (May 14, 2017). "A Woman Allegedly Tried To Run A Republican Congressman Off The Road Over His Vote To Repeal Obamacare". Buzzfeed. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  21. ^ Rebekah Hearn (April 30, 2009). "Married Attorneys: Working Together A Bonus for Clients". Memphis Daily News.
  22. ^ "Jewish Members of the 114th Congress". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  23. ^ Our Board of Directors Archived November 12, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, BankTennessee (accessed September 14, 2016).
  24. ^ "Haslam Makes Appointments to State Boards and Commissions" (Press release). Office of the Governor of Tennessee. October 16, 2015. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  25. ^ "TN District 7 - R Primary 2002". September 5, 2011.
  26. ^ "TN District 2 - R Primary 2016". October 8, 2016.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Terrell Lee Harris
United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee
Succeeded by
Edward L. Stanton III
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Stephen Fincher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 8th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Raja Krishnamoorthi
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Al Lawson