Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Tim Davis stakes his claim on Democratic nomination
Last night, I referred to Tim Davis as "foppish," and I will stand by that assessment, but that must have had something to do with the quality of the questions. Davis not only came across as the most prepared Democrat to take the position currently held by Roy Blunt, but he even drew that greatest of compliments from two people who talked to me after the forum.
"If that Davis wasn't a Democrat, I would vote for him," both said in almost exactly the same words.
Davis is a lawyer, an economist, and holds views that fit in comfortably in southwest Missouri. He was the only candidate among the 10 who came out strongly in favor of keeping the Department of Education. He told the audience of his time doing mission work in China and India where poor children are not guaranteed an education. "The government must be involved in education," he said, but if that turned off any of those wanting total local control, he took a stand in favor of improving education through whatever means necessary, including vouchers and charter schools.
Davis fielded the economic questions with ease, advocating the elimination of federal subsidies for companies and balancing the federal budget.
While Davis was in his element, it was not the night for his opponent, Scott Eckersley, who seemed out of sorts the entire evening. Eckersley was able to make the point that he had taken a principled stand for the public's right to know, which led to his dismissal by the Matt Blunt administration, a court fight, and the $100,000 settlement that is largely financing his race, but on the issues it was Davis, who had the upper hand.
Eckersley didn't help himself by mentioning again that his beliefs did not necessarily coincide with the Democratic Party, but by running on the ticket, he was giving himself a better chance to survive until November.
In the August primary, a lot of Democrats will be voting on the Republican ticket to give themselves a say in county races. It has become a southwest Missouri tradition. The only Democrats who will vote Aug. 3 are the true blue ones (so to speak) and Eckersley's independent streak might have been better off if saved until November. If he doesn't watch it, he will be sitting in the sidelines in November watching Tim Davis battle the winner of the Republican Primary.
(Photo: Tim Davis talks with KOAM's Lisa Olliges and Joplin Globe reporter Alexandra Nicholas after the Seventh District Candidate Forum tonight)