Former Democratic Alabama Congressman Artur Davis confirmed on Tuesday what many have been whispering about for some time. According to a post on his blog:
While I’ve gone to great lengths to keep this website a forum for ideas, and not a personal forum, I should say something about the various stories regarding my political future in Virginia, the state that has been my primary home since late December 2010. The short of it is this: I don’t know and am nowhere near deciding. If I were to run, it would be as a Republican. And I am in the process of changing my voter registration from Alabama to Virginia, a development which likely does represent a closing of one chapter and perhaps the opening of another.
Congressional Black Caucus members accused Mr. Davis of looking to switch to the Republican Party, when the former Congressional Black Caucus member wrote an op-ed for the Montgomery Adverstiser reversing his position on voter ID laws, which he now supports.
“I’ve changed my mind on voter ID laws — I think Alabama did the right thing in passing one — and I wish I had gotten it right when I was in political office,” wrote Mr. Davis, a former member of the Black Congressional Caucus (CBC).
Mr. Davis’s views while in office, however, were not always in lockstep with the rest of the CBC. As I posted previously, he was the only CBC member to vote against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009. In 2007 he was also the only CBC member not to vote for the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. In fact, he was one of the few in his party who voted against the health care bill in 2009.
On his blog, Mr. Davis criticizes President Obama from failing to unite the country and “punishing businesses” to the administration’s attack on state immigration laws and favoring one race over another: (bolding is mine)
“On the specifics, I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again. I have taken issue with an administration that has lapsed into a bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured: frankly, the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country. You have also seen me write that faith institutions should not be compelled to violate their teachings because faith is a freedom, too. You’ve read that in my view, the law can’t continue to favor one race over another in offering hard-earned slots in colleges: America has changed, and we are now diverse enough that we don’t need to accommodate a racial spoils system. And you know from these pages that I still think the way we have gone about mending the flaws in our healthcare system is the wrong way—it goes further than we need and costs more than we can bear.”
“Taken together, these are hardly the enthusiasms of a Democrat circa 2012, and they wouldn’t be defensible in a Democratic primary. But they are the thoughts and values of ten years of learning, and seeing things I once thought were true fall into disarray. So, if I were to leave the sidelines, it would be as a member of the Republican Party that is fighting the drift in this country in a way that comes closest to my way of thinking: wearing a Democratic label no longer matches what I know about my country and its possibilities.”
“Full confession: you won’t find in my columns a poll tested candidate who could satisfy a litmus test. Immigration is a classic example: I wince at the Obama Administration’s efforts to tell states they can’t say the word immigration in their state laws, and find it foolish when I hear their lawyers say that a local cop can’t determine the legal status of a suspect validly in their custody. At the same time, I wince when I see Latinos who have a lawful right to be here have to dodge the glare of so-called “self-deportation laws” that look too uncomfortably like profiling. (It’s a good thing Virginia hasn’t gone that path). And while I haven’t written about the subject as much as I should have, I can’t defend every break in our tax code, or every special interest set-aside, as a necessary tool of a free market. And I can’t say every dollar spent on our weak and our marginal is a give-away: a just government is mindful of the places where prosperity never shines (and I give a lot of credit to an undisputed conservative, Mitch Daniels in Indiana, for saying so, and doing it at the nation’s leading conservative political caucus at that.)”
Davis discusses the prospects of running a congressional or state legislative campaign in Northern Virginia in 2014, 2015 (state legislature), or 2016 as a Republican saying, “I by no means underestimate the difficulty of putting together a campaign again, especially in a community to which I have no long-standing ties. I have a mountain of details to learn about this northern slice of Virginia and its aspirations, and given the many times I have advised would-be candidates to have a platform and a reason for serving, as opposed to a desire to hold an office, that learning curve is one I would take seriously.”