Losing incumbent U.S. Rep. David Davis doesn’t believe a perception that his tight GOP primary loss to Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe was a rejection of his brand of Christian conservatism.
Davis ran on his claim of being a Christian conservative when he won the 1st Congressional District seat two years ago.
He continues to insist that Democrats crossing over to vote in the GOP primary did him in.
“I still believe I won the Republican primary with Republican voters,” he said. “Any time you have a Republican or Democrat primary, you typically run based on the values of that party. When you have the other party systematically invade that primary system, it can sway the outcome by less than one percent. I don’t think this is a rejection of Christian conservative values at all. I think those values voters are still with me as they were on election day.”
Former Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable, who narrowly lost to Davis two years ago and quietly supported Roe, said that people who voted for him likely voted for Roe.
“This election showed there was a place for everybody in this (GOP) party. We share conservative principles with our counterparts on the Democrat side,” Venable said.
When asked if he was surprised at the backlash he received from his attempt to contest the primary result, Davis said: “I think I could have prevailed, ... but I also feel like this (conceding to Roe) was the right thing to do.”
Davis maintained his phone calls to Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee members — who could have overturned the election — weren’t meant to sway them.
“I can tell you there is a lot of people on the Republican executive committee who understand that it is against the law to switch over in the primary because it is a detriment to our constitutional way of life,” Davis said of Democratic crossover voters. “I do think I had the potential to overturn this had I moved forward, but I did what was best.”
Davis also wouldn’t say if he was laying the groundwork for an election effort to unseat Roe in 2010.
“I’m going to try to work hard to represent the values of the district over the coming months,” he said. “I look forward to coming back and working at my business (Shared Health Services in Johnson City) and growing my business, and spending more time with my family.”
He pointed to his term accomplishments — including bringing back $50 million in grants to the district.
“I always voted pro-life. I always voted to protect the Second Amendment. I voted to keep taxes low — the things that are important to East Tennesseans,” Davis said.