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Ala. Rep. Davis through with politics after loss

Phillip Rawls

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — U.S. Rep. Artur Davis said last Thursday he’s through with politics after losing his bid to become Alabama’s first black governor, a stinging defeat that he blamed on his own inability to court African American voters.

Davis, 42, also said he has no interest in an appointed government job, including the U.S. attorney’s post in his hometown of Montgomery. Some had wondered if President Barack Obama was holding the spot open for Davis, a Harvard-educated lawyer who was Obama’s 2008 Alabama campaign chairman, in case he lost the Democratic primary.

And lose he did.

The Birmingham congressman pulled just 38 percent of the vote statewide against Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks and dropped 10 of the 12 counties in his 7th Congressional District.

Davis lost many majority black counties to Sparks, which he blamed solely on himself.

“My campaign did not do a good job of making a case to African American voters why I should be the Democratic nominee. A significant number of them did not believe a black could win [the] election. To overcome that, I needed to make a compelling case why they should vote for me, and I failed to do it,” he said.

Davis had also been criticized by some black leaders for being the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote against the federal health care bill and for not seeking endorsements from African American political organizations.

Davis led decisively in early polls after he entered the race. Closer to election day, polls showed the race getting closer, but no one — including the two candidates — forecast Sparks’ lopsided victory.

He said he would return to practicing law when he finishes his fourth term in Congress in December.

Associated Press