Davis Uses Campaign Funds to Help His Wife

Posted October 19, 2007 at 12:44pm

From July to September, Rep. Tom Davis (R), who is considered a top Republican candidate in the race to replace retiring Sen. John Warner (R), gave more than $14,000 in in-kind contributions from his “Tom Davis for Congress” political action committee to the re-election campaign of his wife, state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R).

Davis’ donations to his wife’s campaign — which is shaping up to be a competitive battle — came in a quarter where the Congressman’s disbursement total was $200 higher than his $222,700 in receipts.

Meanwhile popular former Gov. Mark Warner, the only Democrat in the race to replace Sen. Warner, raised more than $1 million in less than three weeks after announcing his candidacy last month.

Davis has not officially declared his intention to run for Warner’s seat. He has repeatedly said that his focus currently is concentrated on the re-election of his wife, and that an announcement about the Senate campaign would come sometime after Virginia’s legislative election in November.

But some state political observers say Davis’ Senate aspirations were dealt a setback when Virginia’s GOP central committee decided over the weekend that the Republican nominee for the race would be decided at a convention. Davis, with his more moderate social views, was expected to fare better in a primary contest than a convention, which is a smaller forum dominated by more conservative views.

Supporters for former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), who is also expected to run for Senate, say the Congressman would be hard pressed to win the vote of party activists at a convention but Davis officials have brushed off mounting speculation that Davis is rethinking his Senate bid.

In the meantime, it appears that Republicans in Davis’ district are operating under the assumption that the Congressman will not be returning to the House in 2009. Keith Fimian, a businessman based in Oakton, has formed an exploratory committee for the race and reported more than $433,000 in cash on hand at the end of the third quarter, according to his Federal Election Commission filing.

— John McArdle