Artur Genestre Davis, U.S. House of Representatives   Leave a comment


 

Artur Genestre Davis (born October 9, 1967) is a former member of the United States House of Representatives for Alabama’s 7th congressional district, serving from 2003 to 2011 when he was succeeded by Terri Sewell, also a member of the Democratic Party. In December 2011, he left the Democratic party to become an independent.

  

 

Early life, education, and early career

Davis was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, and was raised by his mother and grandmother. He graduated from Jefferson Davis High School and then magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1990 and received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School before returning to Alabama. He was the recipient of the Best Oralist Award in the esteemed Ames Moot Court Competition at Harvard Law School.

After working as an intern at the Southern Poverty Law Center and then as a civil rights lawyer, he served as an assistant United States Attorney.

  U.S. House of Representatives

  Elections

2000

Davis ran for the House in the Democratic primary against 10-year incumbent Earl F. Hilliard. He criticized Hilliard for taking a trip to Libya in 1997 despite U.S. sanctions, but Davis lost the 2000 election 58%-34%.

2002

Davis ran again in 2002 and was elected. He assumed office in January 2003. During the campaign, Hilliard notably questioned whether Davis was “black enough” to represent the district. Despite these attempts to divide the African-American vote, Davis defeated Hilliard narrowly in the primary, which required a runoff in June. He won the runoff easily, assuring him of victory in November in the heavily Democratic district.

2004

He was challenged in the 2004 primary by Albert Turner Jr., a son of a leader of Selma’s “Bloody Sunday” march and defeated him 88%-12%.

2006
Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in Alabama, 2006

In the Democratic primary, he defeated political new-comer Eddison Walters 90%-9%. He won the general election unopposed.

2008
Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in Alabama, 2008

Artur Davis meeting Alabama troops preparing to leave for Iraq war, 2003 (US House photo)

In the new Democratically controlled 110th Congress, Davis was assigned to the Committee on Ways and Means. The stature of that appointment, and the difficulty of raising sufficient funds, led Davis to postpone plans to challenge conservative Senator Jeff Sessions in 2008. In January 2007, Davis said that he was still interested in running on a statewide ticket in 2010, either for Governor, or for Senate if Richard Shelby elects to retire.[1]

Davis delivers a seconding speech formally placing Barack Obama‘s name in nomination during the third day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

In 2007 he became the first Congressman outside Illinois to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president in 2008.[2] At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Davis gave a seconding speech formally placing Obama’s name in nomination.[3]

Davis’s name surfaced in media speculation as a potential Attorney General in Obama’s cabinet.[4][5] However, Davis was quoted in The Birmingham News as stating that he did not anticipate such an offer, and would refuse it if made.[6]

  Tenure

Davis was appointed to the Senior Whip Team for the Democratic Caucus of the 109th Congress and was the co-chair of the centrist House New Democrat Coalition, as well as the Southern Regional co-chair for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

As a freshman, he led the successful fight to reverse funding cuts for minority land grant colleges including Tuskegee University.[7] As a second term member, Congressman Davis won a floor fight to restore funding to the HOPE VI program for renovating public housing; he persuaded over sixty Republicans to vote with Democrats to save HOPE VI. In 2005, the congressman was the lead Democratic sponsor of a bill establishing a national cord blood bank, which will widen the availability of blood transfusions for thousands of patients who suffer from diseases such as sickle cell anemia and diabetes.[8] He received an A– grade on his voting record relating to veteran issues from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.[9]

Davis was the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to demand that former House Ways and Means chair Charlie Rangel surrender his gavel in the wake of ongoing ethics issues.[10]

Davis twice voted against Democratic-supported health care reform legislation, first in November 2009,[11] and again in March 2010 when the legislation passed and was signed into law by President Obama.[12] He was the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote against the legislation in March 2010;[12] he was also the member from the most-heavily Democratically-leaning district to vote against the legislation.[13]

  Committee assignments

Caucuses

  2010 gubernatorial bid

Main article: Alabama gubernatorial election, 2010

On February 6, 2009, Davis announced his candidacy for Governor of Alabama in 2010. His opponent in the Democratic primary was Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks.[14]

During the primary campaign, Davis downplayed matters of race and emphasized his independence from Democratic party orthodoxy. He caused controversy, including within his heavily minority congressional district, by voting against President Barack Obama’s new health-care law—the only black Democrat in Congress to do so. He also refused to sit for the endorsement screenings of Alabama’s black political groups, drawing criticism from some that he was an opportunist in search of white votes.[15] As a result, he became described as “the first African-American candidate in a statewide Alabama race to lose the black vote.”[16] Birmingham News columnist John Archibald said “He ran his whole race as it if were a general election and he wanted to claim some conservative street cred. Alabama Democrats—blue dots in this big red state—have very little patience for that.” State Representative Roderick Scott said Black Democrats “can no longer take for granted they will receive the African-American vote.”[17]

On June 1, 2010, Davis lost the Democratic primary to Sparks, ending his gubernatorial bid. Afterwards, he announced he was retiring from politics and would return to private practice at the conclusion of his 2009-2011 term.[18] Davis was succeeded in Congress by fellow Democrat Terri Sewell, the first African-American woman elected to the United House of Representatives from Alabama.

 Post congressional career

After losing his gubernatorial bid, Davis immediately said “I have no interest in running for political office again” but continues to solidify himself as an independent-minded Democrat.[19] He supported Alabama’s voter ID laws. He said that the public option would have “simultaneously ratcheted private premiums even higher.” He also contributed money to the campaigns of two Republicans: former U.S. Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-NM), who is running for the U.S. Senate and Phil Bryant (R-MS), who recently won a gubernatorial election in 2011.

In Spring 2012, he will not run for public office and will instead become a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics.[20]

Davis is doubtful he will run for public office again. He said “I’ve heard some people at the national level encouraging me to run as an independent for my old office. Alabama is not friendly to independent candidacies.” Davis suggested running as a Republican won’t be a viable option because the Alabama Republican Party has declined to embrace politicians who have switched parties. He referred to former U.S. Congressman Parker Griffith who switched parties and lost the Republican primary in 2010.

In December 2011, he explained that the reason why U.S. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) decided to retire is because weak poll numbers and his support for Obamacare. He also said that his retirement is “one more piece of proof that for the first time in the 150-year history of the two-party alignment, there really is a monolithically conservative party and a just as exclusively liberal party. The ranks of Democratic moderates in both congressional chambers are small now, and their centrism is based more on a demeanor and a skeptical brow than a voting record.”

Of the increasingly liberal Democratic party, Artur further explained that the “The party’s ruling class seems fully prepared to sacrifice whole sections of the country, from the South to the Midwest farm belt, on the theory that inexorable demographic trends will more than make up the losses. It’s all weirdly reminiscent of the projections of strategists in the early Seventies who thought that a surge of new young voters, a rise in minorities, and an explosion of educated suburban professionals meant a sustained Democratic majority. They calculated wrong, and lost three consecutive presidential elections as a result. It’s a risky thing, this business of breaking sharply left in a center-right country.”[21]

In 2012, conservative National Review online started publishing some of his political commentary.[22][23] In February 2012, Davis was quoted in a Politico piece as claiming that “(t)here is a camp within the (Democratic National Committee) and a camp within the party that wants to make the argument” that Barack Obama‘s critics are motivated by racism. He went on to say, “I think it’s a huge mistake…a tactic that’s likely to backfire”, and contended that “accusing people of racism ultimately damages Obama’s interest” more than it helps him. He cautioned that a “substantial number of Americans, when they hear that race is injected into the campaign, their reaction is: ‘What are you saying? I’m a racist because I don’t support Obama?'” but pointed out that he had “never heard Obama make that argument personally” and predicted that “I didn’t think you will.”[24]

[edit] Electoral history

Main article: U.S. House election, 2002
Alabama’s 7th Congressional District House Election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
  Democratic Artur Davis 153,735 92.44%  
  Libertarian Lauren Orth McCay 12,100 7.28%  
Main article: United States House of Representatives elections, 2004
Alabama’s 7th Congressional District House Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
  Democratic Artur Davis 183,408 74.97% -17.47%
  Republican Steve Cameron 61,019 24.94% +24.94%
Main article: United States House of Representatives elections, 2006
Alabama’s 7th Congressional District House Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
  Democratic Artur Davis 133,870 99.04% +24.07%
Main article: United States House of Representatives elections, 2008
Alabama’s 7th Congressional District House Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
  Democratic Artur Davis 228,518 98.63% -0.41%
Main article: Alabama gubernatorial election, 2010#Democratic primary
Alabama’s Democratic Gubernatorial Primary, 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
  Democratic Ron Sparks 199,558 62.44%  
  Democratic Artur Davis 120,050 37.56%  

[edit] Personal life

Davis resides in Birmingham, Alabama.

Posted February 19, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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