Davis is said to be deeply disappointed by the RPV's decision to choose Mark Warner's opponent by convention instead of a primary.
Still, others close to Davis -- who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on his behalf -- said the seven-term congressman was deeply disappointed by the Republican State Central Committee's decision this month to choose a convention over a primary to nominate the GOP Senate candidate in the spring. They also said he is angry about how his party selects candidates.Davis and his supporters rightly interpret this as handing the nomination to Jim Gilmore. What factors could drive a Davis decision to step down from his House seat?
- Nationally Republicans are being hammered. While there are a few bright spots like the election of Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, the fact of the matter is that the Republican national committees are broke. Fundraising, always a pillar of the Republican Party, has been worse than terrible. Under these circumstances Davis knows that the GOP is unlikely to recapture either the House or Senate next year. Indeed, all signs point to Democratic pick ups.
- It's no fun being in the minority in Congress, especially when you've previously been the chairman of an important committee. Adding insult to injury, Henry Waxman has been doing a much better job of chairing Davis' old committee and is now a media darling.
- Davis has a legitimate gripe with the RPV. While on paper both Davis and Gilmore seemed evenly "screwed," both trailing Mark Warner by about 30 points, in fact Davis had a modest chance whereas Gilmore has none. This is because Davis is still somewhat unknown in Virginia and he had a chance to define or redefine himself for voters. Virginia's voters are more than familiar with Jim Gilmore. Gilmore will be hard pressed to break 44%. Davis, at least theoretically, had a chance to get lucky if he ran a perfect campaign and if--highly unlikely--Mark Warner stumbled.
Devolites Davis said yesterday that she still wasn't sure what her husband's decision would be. But after his reelection last year and her campaign this year, she said, the thought of facing another grueling election is wearisome.Davis could end the strain, position himself for a very, very profitable lobbying job, and settle accounts with the far-right wing of the RPV all in one fell swoop by announcing his decision not to run for re-election in 2008.
"This is two years in a row, a tremendous amount of stress, running for elections," she said. "It's a lot for one family to do. I think part of what we need to do is ask: 'What are we up for next year?' That would make three years in a row."
Of course all of this is speculation. All we can do now is pop some popcorn and wait for his announcement later today.
Read "Sources Say Rep. Davis Won't Run for Senate" in The Washington Post.