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Jim Davis
Member of the "U.S. House of Representatives
from "Florida's "11th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by "Sam Gibbons
Succeeded by "Kathy Castor
Personal details
Born James Oscar Davis III
(1957-10-11) October 11, 1957 (age 60)
"Tampa, "Florida, "U.S.
Political party "Democratic
Spouse(s) Peggy Bessent
Education "Washington and Lee University ("BA)
"University of Florida ("JD)

James Oscar Davis III (born October 11, 1957) is an "American politician from the "U.S. state of "Florida. He is a "Democrat and served in the "U.S. House of Representatives from 1997 to 2007, representing "Florida's 11th congressional district. He was the Democratic nominee for "governor of Florida in the "2006 election, but was defeated by "Republican "Charlie Crist.


Early life and education[edit]

Davis was born in "Tampa, Florida. He graduated from "Jesuit High School of Tampa in 1975, and attended "Washington and Lee University, where he received his "Bachelor of Arts "degree in 1979. He later attended the "University of Florida's "College of Law, received his "Juris Doctor "law degree in 1982. He later credited his grandfather as an important influence on his life.


Davis worked as a lawyer in private practice from 1982 to 1988, when he became a partner in the Tampa-based business "law firm of Bush, Ross, Gardner, Warren & Rudy. Davis was elected to the "Florida House of Representatives in 1989 and served until 1996, serving as "House Majority Leader from 1995 to 1996.

US House[edit]

Davis entered the race for the Tampa-based 11th District in 1996, after "Sam Gibbons—the district's only congressman since its creation in 1963—announced his retirement. Although Gibbons had endorsed Davis as his successor, Davis finished second in a four-way Democratic primary behind former Tampa mayor "Sandy Freedman. He won the runoff with 56 percent of the vote.

He faced Republican Mark Sharpe in the general election. The race was initially thought to be close, especially since Sharpe had nearly defeated Gibbons in 1994 and held him to 52 percent in 1992. However, Davis won by a convincing 15-point margin, largely due to "Bill Clinton carrying the district. After defeating an underfunded Republican in 1998, Davis faced only a Libertarian candidate in 2000 and 2004 and was completely unopposed in 2002.

Davis was one of the co-chairs of the "New Democrat Coalition in the House of Representatives. The New Democrat Coalition is affiliated with the centrist "Democratic Leadership Council.

On October 10, 2002, Jim Davis was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing the "invasion of Iraq.

2006 Gubernatorial Campaign[edit]

Davis announced his candidacy for governor of Florida in 2005 and won the Democratic primary held on September 5, 2006. He defeated then-state Senator "Rod Smith by a margin of 46 percent to 42 percent.

He received the endorsements of former U.S. President "Bill Clinton, U.S. senator for Florida "Bill Nelson, U.S. senator for Illinois "Barack Obama, former Governor and U.S. Senator "Bob Graham, former Governor "Buddy MacKay, former First Lady Rhea Chiles (wife of "Lawton Chiles), former Tallahassee mayor and "Florida Democratic Party chairman "Scott Maddox, Miami-Dade Democratic Party chairman Jimmy Morales, and Representatives "Alcee Hastings, "Robert Wexler, "Corrine Brown, and "Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

He lost the race to Attorney General "Charlie Crist by a margin of 52-45.

Post-political career[edit]

As of 2007, Davis is employed at "Holland & Knight in Tampa. In 2010, Davis has been a member of and public speaker for Moving Hillsborough Forward, an organization formed to help pass a transit tax referendum on the 2010 general election ballot in "Hillsborough County.

In 2010, Davis was a member of and public speaker for Moving Hillsborough Forward, an organization formed to help pass a transit tax referendum on the general election ballot in "Hillsborough County.[1] Though there was some speculation that he might potentially run for Mayor of Tampa in 2011,[2] he ultimately declined to run. Though then-Mayor "Pam Iorio declared that Davis would be an "excellent" successor,[3] it was speculated that the defeat of the rail referendum by voters left Davis with no platform to run for Mayor on.[4] Davis is a member of the ReFormers Caucus of "Issue One.[5]

Election results[edit]

"Florida's 11th congressional district: Results 1996–2006[6]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
"1996 Jim Davis 108,522 57.9% Mark Sharpe 78,881 42.1%
"1998 Jim Davis 85,262 64.9% Joe Chillura 46,176 35.1%
"2000 Jim Davis 149,433 84.6% (no candidate) Charlie Westlake Libertarian 27,194 15.4%
"2002 Jim Davis Unopposed 100% (no candidate)
"2004 Jim Davis 191,780 85.8% (no candidate) Robert Edward Johnson Libertarian 31,579 14.1%
Florida gubernatorial election, 2006[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
"Republican "Charlie Crist 2,519,845 52.2 -3.8
"Democratic Jim Davis 2,178,289 45.1 +1.9
"Reform Max Linn 92,595 1.9 n/a
"Independent John Wayne Smith 15,987 0.3 n/a
"Independent Richard Paul Dembinsky 11,921 0.2 n/a
"Independent Karl Behm 10,487 0.2 n/a
Write-ins 147 0.0 0
Majority 341,556 7.1 -5.7
"Turnout 4,829,271
"Republican hold "Swing

Personal life[edit]

Davis's wife is Peggy Bessent Davis. The couple have two children, Peter and William. He is a member of the "Episcopal Church.


  1. ^ Robert Napper, "Powerful Tampa Bay Interests Campaign for Local Light Rail Funding," Moving Hillsborough Forward, under "News & Media," August 2, 2010, http://www.movinghillsboroughforward.org/news-media/powerful-tampa-bay-interests-campaign-for-local-light-rail-funding.aspx["permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Mike Deeson, "Tampa Mayor Race Gets Hotter: Bob Buckhorn is Running," WTSP 10 News, June 2010, http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=131766
  3. ^ William March, "Iorio Suggests Davis Would Be 'Excellent' Successor," Tampa Tribune, November 2007, http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/nov/16/me-iorio-suggests-davis-would-be-excellent-success/news-politics/["permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Peter Schorsch, "With rail referendum’s defeat, Jim Davis not likely to run, so Tampa mayoral field will be set with Greco’s announcement," Saint Petersblog, November 2010, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-03-04. Retrieved 2011-03-26. 
  5. ^ https://www.issueone.org/reformers/
  6. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  7. ^ https://doe.dos.state.fl.us/elections/resultsarchive/Index.asp?ElectionDate=11/7/2006&DATAMODE= Archived 2011-07-18 at the "Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

"U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
"Sam Gibbons
Member of the "U.S. House of Representatives
from "Florida's 11th congressional district

Succeeded by
"Kathy Castor
Party political offices
Preceded by
Chair of the "New Democrat Coalition
Served alongside: "Ron Kind, "Adam Smith
Succeeded by
"Ellen Tauscher
Preceded by
"Bill McBride
"Democratic nominee for "Governor of Florida
Succeeded by
"Alex Sink
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