Steve Chabot ran unsuccessfully for the Cincinnati City Council as an independent in 1979 and as a Republican in 1983. Then, running as a Republican, he won a seat in 1985, 1987 and 1989. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1988. He was appointed in 1990 to the Hamilton County Commission and was elected to that body in 1990 and 1992.
He defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. David Mann with 56 percent of the vote in 1994. In 1996, he was re-elected to the U.S. House with 54 percent of the vote against Democrat Mark Longabaugh.
In 1998, Chabot survived a stiff re-election challenge from Democratic Cincinnati Mayor Roxanne Qualls, winning with 53 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2000 with 53 percent of the vote, defeating John Cranley. In 2002 he beat Greg Harris, getting 65 percent of the vote. He faces Harris again in 2004.
Chabot had no opposition in Ohio's March 2, 2004, primary election.