News & Election Videos

August 07, 2008

Davis loses GOP primary to 2006 rival

In a small upset, it appears that Rep. David Davis (R-Tenn.) lost tonight’s Republican primary to Johnson City mayor and retired obstetrician Phil Roe.

With all precincts reporting, Roe holds a 500-vote lead over Davis, leading the congressman by less than a percentage-point margin, 50.1 to 49.2 percent.

Davis, a low-key freshman member, didn’t sport any glaring vulnerabilities as he sought a second term, but couldn’t tout many accomplishments either.

Meanwhile, Roe aired ads attacking him for accepting money from major oil companies and political action committees. Another Roe ad featured an elderly woman telling Davis he “should be ashamed of himself” for calling Roe a liar.

Davis’ other vulnerability was that he entered this race having only won a narrow 22 percent plurality of the district’s GOP voters in the 2006 primary. Roe was one of his rivals in 2006, finishing in fourth in that primary.

If the results hold, Roe is now near-guaranteed of being the district’s next congressman -- winning the Republican primary in this east Tennessee district is tantamount to victory. The district has not elected a Democrat to Congress since Grover Cleveland’s presidency.

Davis would be the fourth member of Congress to lose in a primary this election cycle, joining Reps. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), Al Wynn (D-Md.) and Chris Cannon (R-Utah)