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Artur Davis

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 7th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2003
Preceded by Earl Hilliard

In office

Born October 9, 1967 (1967-10-09) (age 42)
Montgomery, Alabama
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Tara Davis
Residence Birmingham, Alabama
Alma mater Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Harvard University (B.A.)
Religion Lutheran

Artur Genestre Davis (born October 9, 1967) is an American politician who has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 2003, representing Alabama's 7th congressional district. It encompasses the counties of Choctaw, Sumter, Greene, Perry, Hale, Dallas, Wilcox, and Marengo. It also includes parts of Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, Pickens and Clarke Counties.


Life and political career

Davis was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, and was raised by his mother and grandmother. He graduated from Jefferson Davis High School and then magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1990 and received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School before returning to Alabama. He was the recipient of the Best Oralist Award in the esteemed Ames Moot Court Competition at Harvard Law School.

After working as an intern at the Southern Poverty Law Center and then as a civil rights lawyer, he served as an assistant United States Attorney.

In 2000, he ran for the House in the Democratic primary against 10-year incumbent Earl F. Hilliard. He criticized Hilliard for taking a trip to Libya in 1997 despite U.S. sanctions, but despite vigorous campaigning, Davis lost the 2000 election 58%-34%. Davis ran again in 2002 and was elected. He assumed office in January 2003. During the campaign Hilliard notably questioned whether Davis was "black enough" to represent the district. Despite these attempts to divide the African-American vote, Davis defeated Hilliard narrowly in the primary, which required a runoff in June. He won the runoff easily, assuring him of victory in November in the heavily Democratic district.

He was challenged in the 2004 primary by Albert Turner Jr., a son of a leader of Selma's "Bloody Sunday" march and in the 2006 primary by political new-comer Eddison Walters. He easily won the challenges 88%-12% and 90%-9% respectively. He has only faced Republican opposition once, in 2004; he won easily with 74 percent of the vote.

In the new Democratically controlled 110th Congress, Davis has been assigned to the Committee on Ways and Means. The stature of that appointment, and the difficulty of raising sufficient funds, led Davis to postpone plans to challenge conservative Senator Jeff Sessions in 2008. In January 2007, Davis said that he was still interested in running on a statewide ticket in 2010, either for Governor, or for Senate if Richard Shelby elects to retire.[1]

Artur Davis meeting Alabama troops preparing to leave for Iraq war, 2003 (US House photo)
Davis delivers a seconding speech formally placing Barack Obama's name in nomination during the third day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

In 2007 he became the first Congressman outside Illinois to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president in 2008.[2] At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Davis gave a seconding speech formally placing Obama's name in nomination.[3]

Davis's name surfaced in media speculation as a potential Attorney General in Obama's cabinet.[4][5] However, Davis was quoted in The Birmingham News as stating that he did not anticipate such an offer, and would refuse it if made.[6]

House record

Davis is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and resides in Birmingham, Alabama. Known as a bipartisan legislator, he has earned praise from publications such as Roll Call and the National Journal.[citation needed] Davis was appointed to the Senior Whip Team for the Democratic Caucus of the 109th Congress and is the co-chair of the centrist House New Democrat Coalition, as well as the Southern Regional co-chair for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

As a freshman, he led the successful fight to reverse funding cuts for minority land grant colleges including Tuskegee University.[7] As a second term member, Congressman Davis won a floor fight to restore funding to the HOPE VI program for renovating public housing; he persuaded over sixty Republicans to vote with Democrats to save HOPE VI. In 2005, the congressman was the lead Democratic sponsor of a bill establishing a national cord blood bank, which will widen the availability of blood transfusions for thousands of patients who suffer from diseases such as sickle cell anemia and diabetes.[8] He received an A– grade on his voting record relating to veteran issues from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.[9]

Davis's voting legislative record has been primarily focused on Social and Health issues, which remain an important issue in his district. He voted against the health care reform bill passed by the House in November 2009,[10] and has stated that he prefers a Senate version of health care reform.[11]\

Davis was the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to demand that former House Ways and Means chair Charlie Rangel surrender his gavel in the wake of ongoing ethics issues [12].


Committees and subcommittees

Gubernatorial bid

After months of speculation, Davis announced on February 6, 2009 his candidacy for Governor of Alabama in 2010. His opponent in the Democratic primary is Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks.[13]

On June 16, 2009 it was formally announced that nationally prominent trial lawyer, former Alabama Lieutenant Governor and Acting Governor, Jere Beasley, will be serving as the campaign chairperson for the Davis campaign.

If Davis wins the nomination, he will be first major party black nominee for Alabama Governor. If he wins the election, he will be first black Governor of Alabama and just fifth in entire U.S. history after P. B. S. Pinchback of Louisiana, Douglas Wilder of Virginia, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, and David Paterson of New York.

Electoral history

2008 General Election

Candidate Votes %
Artur Davis (D) ? ?
Artur Davis (D) re-elected for 4th term

2006 General Election

Candidate Votes %
Artur Davis (D) 133,870 99
Artur Davis (D) re-elected for 3rd term

2004 General Election

Candidate Votes %
Steve Cameron (R) 61,019 25
Artur Davis (D) 183,408 75
Artur Davis (D) re-elected for 2nd term

2002 General Election

Candidate Votes %
Lauren Orth McCay (Lib) 12,100 7
Artur Davis (D) 153,735 92
Artur Davis (D) elected for 1st term

Group ratings (2004)

See also

"30 Something" Working Group


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Earl F. Hilliard
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by


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