A former Democratic congressman who supported President Barack Obama’s 2008 election is becoming a popular figure in the Republican Party, and he’s coming to the Roanoke Valley this weekend.
Former Alabama congressman Artur Davis is scheduled to speak at the inaugural Roanoke Republican Victory Dinner Saturday night at the Holiday Inn Tanglewood. The dinner is a fundraiser for the Roanoke County Republican Committee.
Davis served four terms in Congress and made a failed bid for Alabama’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2010. He gained national attention by seconding Obama’s nomination at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and served as a co-chairman of Obama’s 2008 campaign.
But Davis left Congress in 2011, abandoned the Democratic Party, and is now supporting Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. He wrote on his website in May that he is changing his voter registration from Alabama to Virginia. He said he has been asked to consider running in one of the Northern Virginia congressional districts in 2014 or 2016 and would run as a Republican if he makes another bid for public office.
“I look forward to delivering a simple message to Roanoke Valley Republicans: there are tens of thousands of disaffected Democrats in the commonwealth, and millions nationally, who no longer recognize their party,” Davis said in a news release. “A party that distrusts success, prefers entitlement to responsibility, and picks a different fight with people of faith every few months is not the Democratic Party we used to know.”
Today, Davis appeared on CNN and assailed Vice President Joe Biden for a remark he made yesterday at a rally in Danville. Biden referred to Romney’s desire to “unchain” Wall Street and told a racially diverse crowd that Romney’s plan would “put y’all in chains.” Biden later said he had meant to use the word “unshackled” but did not apologize for his remark.
“I know what Joe Biden was doing yesterday,” Davis said on CNN. “And every black person in that room knew who the y’all was. They knew what the chains were about. They knew what the metaphor was.”
Roanoke allergist Dane McBride, a longtime friend of Romney’s, also is scheduled to speak at the dinner.
“This year’s dinner is a rare event that will feature speakers who knew both candidates for president before they were candidates. said Roanoke County Republican Committee Chairman David Suetterlein. ” We are looking forward to a great dinner.”
– Michael Sluss