- Associated Press - Monday, July 21, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis announced he will set up an exploratory committee for the 2015 mayor’s race in his hometown of Montgomery.

“On Aug. 25, an exact year before the election, I will be setting up a Davis for Mayor exploratory committee. If it reports that the resources and grassroots support are there, I am in,” he wrote in an opinion article for al.com (http://bit.ly/1sEuozM ).

Davis, 46, represented Alabama’s 7th Congressional District for eight years until trying to become Alabama’s first African-American governor in 2010. He lived in Birmingham while in Congress and while running for governor. He lost the Democratic primary for governor to Ron Sparks and then moved to northern Virginia, where he switched to the Republican Party.

Davis wrote that while he spent the first 31 years of his life in Montgomery and married a Montgomery woman, “none of that will spare me the carpetbagger attack. I know I will have to explain to African-Americans just what this party switching business was about and why being a Republican doesn’t mean that I have lost my heart for struggling people who can’t catch a break.”

If he runs, Davis said issues he will address include drawing investment to the poorer west side of the city, using Maxwell Air Force Base to compete for defense industries, turning around the city’s loss of residents, and determining whether the city needs to set up its own school system separate from the Montgomery County system.

The incumbent, Todd Strange, has not announced his plans for 2015.

As a congressman, Davis voted against the Affordable Care Act. In his 2010 race for governor, black political organizations endorsed his white opponent. In 2012, he campaigned for Republican Mitt Romney for president, but Romney lost Democrat-leaning Montgomery County to President Barack Obama.

A longtime political science professor told the Montgomery Advertiser that Davis will face significant trust issues.

“I think there is a lot of distrust in the minority community. They saw him voting against their interests in the past,” said D’Linell Finley, adjunct professor at Alabama State University.

Davis said that if he runs, his campaign will focus on making Montgomery better, not on political labels.

“The familiar left versus right is too exhausted, too stale to manage any of these problems. The last thing we need is to import the false choices in Washington into a Montgomery election,” he said.

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