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FCW Insider: Davis watch -- is he going?

I mentioned Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) earlier today. On the other side of the isle is Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who has been seriously considering retirement -- very seriously. Davis was on Washington, DC radio station WTOP radio this morning [ .mp3 format ] and he suggested that he will make his decision about whether to retire or not... very soon.

Rep. Tom Davis isn't saying whether he'll step down later this week.

"I'm going to mull this thing through, and anybody who says they know what I'm going to do knows more than I do," Davis tells WTOP.

Political sources tell The Examiner the Republican has decided not to seek an eighth term in office.

"That's not accurate, yet," Davis says.

"I'm trying to weigh everything and I'm trying to come up to some conclusion in the next couple of days."

I'm hearing that he is seriously considering retirement. It isn't fun being in the minority and, frankly, insiders tell me that he is frustrated thatWaxman doesn't really seem to care about the management and procurement issues that, frankly, Davis is passionate about.

The DC Examiner said:

Davis’ spokesman Brian McNicoll said an announcement could come as early as Wednesday, but would not confirm Davis was retiring.

“We’ll all know one way or the other by the end of the week,” McNicoll said, noting that Davis traditionally kicks off his campaign in February.

But three Virginia political experts said all the signals point to Davis retiring, as more than two dozen Republican colleagues have announced their retirements.

Professors cited Davis’ public frustration with the Senate nominating process, diminished power in a Democratic-controlled Congress after serving as a Republican committee chairman, and the potential for a lucrative career outside of elected office.

“He made a decision some time ago that it was either up or out,” said University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato, who expected Davis could look forward to a lucrative career making four to five times his federal salary.

“It always seemed that staying in Congress for Tom Davis would have been an unappealing option,” added Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington.

Davis’ likely retirement is positive news for Democrats trying to regain control of the 11th District for the first time since 1994, when he unseated one-term congresswoman Leslie Byrne two years after the district was formed.

One Davis friend told me, flat out, "He's gone."

If so, it leaves a huge void for this community. Nobody else on Capitol Hill cares about these issues the way Davis does. That is, in part, the result of his constituency, which is made up of feds and government contractors. But as a former government contracts lawyer, he knows this stuff. He loves this stuff. He believes in this stuff. He believes in good government. And, frankly, for all those reasons, he provides more oversight then almost anybody else on Capitol Hill.

The speculation is that we'll hear something this week.

Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Jan 29, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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