Davis Loses Bid to Become First Black Ala. Guv

Centrist strategy bombs for Dem congressman
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2010 1:18 AM CDT
Analysts say Davis' drift to the right during the campaign failed to win over moderate voters as intended.   (AP Photo/Phillip Rawls)
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(Newser) – Rep. Artur Davis' bid to become Alabama's first black governor is over. The Democrat—who sought to play down race as a factor in the primary—lost heavily to agriculture commissioner Ron Sparks. Davis' white rival gained endorsements from the African-American political groups whose support Davis had intentionally avoided seeking in an effort to build a coalition of moderate voters, the New York Times reports.

Analysts say Davis—who surprised many when he opposed President Obama's health care reform bill—could have won the primary easily if he'd pitched his campaign to the Democratic base, although that probably wouldn't have translated into victory in November. It's "very hard for an African-American to win statewide in Alabama, or the Deep South for that matter," a political scientist tells the Anniston Star, adding that Sparks may not fare any better. "It is hard for white Democrats to win in the Deep South," he adds. "Democrats are having a very tough time of it in the South these days."

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