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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sanders: Davis's decision could affect dynamic of endorsement



U.S. Rep. Artur Davis said he will not participate in the screening processes of three black political organizations as he seeks the Democratic nomination for governor because he believes black voters do not need permission from those groups and that they do not need a sample ballot to decide who to vote for.
Davis, D-Birmingham, was responding to a press conference by leaders in the Alabama New South Coalition. One of those leaders, state Sen. Hank Sanders, said Davis being the lone member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote against health care complicated the selection process and that he thought the screening process would help.
Davis and Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks are the Democratic candidates.
Sanders said he expects the vote over which candidate to endorse to be close at the Saturday convention. He said Davis not attending could "change the dynamic."
Davis also criticized "coded language about the 'electability' of black candidates."
Sanders said, when they formed the coalition, that they created five criteria to endorse candidates. He said electability is one of those criteria. The coalition could agree with a fringe candidate on all of the issues, but the candidate might not have a chance of getting elected, Sanders said.
Sanders, who said he will be presiding and will sit his personal thoughts aside on Saturday, said he was not greatly surprised that Davis decided not to participate. He said Davis previously had talked to him about the New South endorsement and helping him try to win it.
Davis also said he would not participate in the screening processes of the Alabama Democratic Conference and the Jefferson County Citizen's Coalition. He said he has great respect for the legacies of those organizations.
"In fact, the best way to honor the legacy of Senator Sanders, Dr. Reed, and Dr. Arrington is for candidates to give black Alabamians the respect of honoring their independence and their capacity to make informed judgments," he said.
Davis has been able to win without strong support from those organizations.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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