- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rep. Tom Davis’ good stewardship as a Republican has earned him continuing popularity. He also deserves credit as a voice for the ideals this editorial page promotes even as he represents a diverse district split about evenly between Democrats and Republicans. We endorse Mr. Davis’ bid for a seventh term in Congress.

The highly accessible Mr. Davis has distinguished himself in several arenas, most regularly on issues of local importance. For instance, he was instrumental in securing $900 million in federal funding for the much-needed rail to Dulles, figured prominently in funding for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project and has aided scores of other local transportation, education and development efforts. He has also been an advocate for the region’s federal employees, notably scoring retirees new dental and vision benefits they would otherwise lack. Then there’s the District of Columbia. While we dissent from some of Mr. Davis’ activities in that regard, most notably his push for questionable congressional voting schemes for D.C. residents, no one questions his tirelessness and reform-minded good faith when it comes to the District.

Mr. Davis is also a significant presence on national, federal and critical regulatory issues. As chairman of the Government Reform Committee, he alternates roles as scourge of public-sector ineptitude and advocate for commonsense reform. It was Mr. Davis’ scathing February report, “A Failure of Initiative,” which provided the details of many of the government failures evident in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Davis was the congressman who scolded Mark McGwire and a roster of Major League Baseball obfuscators when the steroid scandal boiled over. Mr. Davis has also discreetly poked MLB’s antitrust soft spots to make MLB, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and cable giant Comcast act in manners less injurious to the District of Columbia than they otherwise would.

A moderate, he has split with the Republican majority on issues like Arctic oil-drilling, eminent-domain reform and stem-cell research — but these are best viewed in context. Mr. Davis’ district split nearly evenly in the 2004 presidential election, 50 percent for President Bush and 49 for Sen. John Kerry. This is a heterogenous district whose population is 96 percent urban by census criteria, about one-third minority and likely to trend more Democratic in the future if current demographic changes continue. In that context, it’s worth noting Mr. Davis has still supported tax cuts, funding the Iraq war, medical-malpractice reform, limits on partial-birth abortion and repealing the estate tax.

He’s an able conservative whose job at the end of the day is to represent one of the most evenly split districts in the region. For these reasons, The Washington Times endorses Tom Davis, a member of the class of 1994, for a seventh term in the House.

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