Skip to comments.Rep. Davis Won't Run For Governor
Posted on 09/07/2001 5:32:54 AM PDT by Brandonmark
Rep. Davis Won't Run For Governor
By WILLIAM MARCH
Published: Sep 8, 2001
Rep. Davis Won't Run For Governor
TAMPA - After months of deliberation, and at least partly in response to Janet Reno's entry into the race, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa said Thursday he will not seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2002.
``The decision not to run is difficult. I have become increasingly distressed about the course Jeb Bush is setting for our state. ... I was sorely tempted,'' Davis said.
But, he said, ``I think I can best serve the people of Florida and my district by representing them in the United States Congress.''
Davis called family, supporters and a few reporters Thursday night to communicate his decision after spending much of the last month in Florida testing his support and much of this week making calls to potential backers.
But Thursday night, he didn't want to be specific about why he made the decision, after weighing his options since about the beginning of the year.
``It's a lot of things,'' he said. ``There is no single factor here. I have always tried to weigh this against the obligations I have as a congressman and my personal obligations to my family.''
``I have a wonderful job waiting for me in the morning,'' he said.
Davis' decision means the field of prominent candidates in the Democratic primary for governor is likely set at five - state Rep. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach; state Sen. Daryl Jones of Miami; Tampa lawyer and civic activist Bill McBride; and former congressman and former ambassador to Vietnam Douglas ``Pete'' Peterson of Tallahassee.
The winner will take on Gov. Jeb Bush, who's running for re- election next year, in a race viewed nationwide as a key test for the governor's brother, President Bush, and an attempt by Democrats to exact revenge for what they regard as an improperly decided 2000 presidential election.
Davis had been considered a leading possibility for the race at least since shortly after the presidential election and recount.
The Democratic National Committee, in an unusual move into state politics, picked Davis in March to deliver a response to Jeb Bush's State of the State Address - giving him a platform to begin a battle against the Bush brothers.
But Democrats who had been worried about whether they would have a credible candidate against the popular governor soon found themselves with what some called an embarrassment of riches - announcements by Frankel and Jones, two of the party's leading state legislators; then by Peterson, with a John McCain-like record as a Vietnam prisoner of war; and finally, this week, by Reno, a former U.S. attorney general who has national celebrity status within the party.
Davis apparently felt himself being crowded out to some extent.
After saying for months he would make his decision regardless of other candidates, he acknowledged after Reno's Tuesday announcement that her presence in the race would make it ``more complicated'' and ``challenging'' to run the kind of campaign he wanted.
Thursday night, he would say only this: ``When I set the timing for my own decision, I had no idea what other people's timing was going to be.''
Davis, a friend of Reno's, said he hadn't made any assumption about whether she would enter the race.
He declined to cite family reasons as the crux of his decision. He and his wife have two sons, ages 11 and 9.
``My children are still young, but obviously I was seriously considering the race'' despite that, he said. Asked what his wife wanted him to do, he joked, ``Right now she wants me to help get the boys to bed on time.''
Davis, whose re-election to his House seat is virtually assured, has been under at least some pressure from the Democratic leadership in Congress to hang on to it. The Democrats could take the House majority by converting six GOP seats and holding their current seats.
And if he stays in Washington, Davis also is widely regarded among Tampa Bay Democrats as a prime candidate for the Senate seat held by Bob Graham when Graham retires.
Davis would say only he has had ``encouragement'' from colleagues to stay.
``I came to Washington to help balance the budget and pay down the debt. That is unraveling before our eyes, and that and other important issues are all I'm focusing on right now,'' he said.
Asked whether he favors anyone in the Democratic primary, he declined to say.
``I'm not going to get into that. I have every confidence that Floridians are ready for a change of leadership. There's a lot of great candidates out there and it's very early,'' he said.
Reporter William March can be reached at (813) 259-7761
It's gonna be a FREEPATHON!
Translation: There are enough Kool-Aid drinkers in my congressional district to keep re-electing me, but I'm not so sure there are enough in the entire state of Floriduh . . .
Give it that she has the most name recognition of the Dems. There are positives that will probably outweigh the negatives:
1) She has the most baggage. The negative campaign against her will be like shooting the broad side of a barn.
2) She also will energize the republican base, with a vengence. She is umbilically tied to the Clintons. After all, she is a clintonista.
3) She lacks sex appeal, literally. Yes, woman will vote for her, but she lacks charisma. JEB on the other hand has some sex appeal and more charisma than El Reno.
4) President Bush can campaign for Jeb and raise a bigger war chest than Reno.
It will not be a slam dunk for JEB, but I believe he will prevail.
Two words: FBI FILES
Even worse than being enemies with these people...is being their friends.
You need a new Congressman!!!!!!
I said essentially the same thing in an email this morning. Believe the clintons are clearing the way for a Reno run for Governor. Jeb is going to need all the help he can get from inside Florida and outside of Florida to combat this clinton campaign. Anyone that doesn't think the clintons are behind this better get their heads examined. You are right on with your analysis IMO!
Well, if Florida voters are as dumb as Missouri voters, Reno will win by a landslide. The more she shakes, the more votes she'll get. Remember, today you win by exploiting people's emotions - not by challenging them to think.