Montgomery mayoral race grabs national attention

Last week Alabama held one of the few mayoral races to garner some national attention in the 2015 cycle–the Montgomery mayoral race. This attention stemmed from the candidacy of former rising political star Artur Davis.

Davis made his mark in Alabama politics during the 2002 electoral cycle in which he unseated Congressman Earl F. Hilliard of Alabama’s 7th District.

The race proved very contentious and included perhaps the most mudslinging of any race that cycle.

Davis served four terms, and made a name for himself on the national stage as an early supporter of his college acquaintance, Barrack Obama, during the 2008 presidential election.

Following President Obama’s election, Davis enjoyed a good deal of media speculation that he would be tapped to join the President’s cabinet.

Instead, Davis embarked on a campaign to become Alabama’s first African American Governor. After distancing himself from the Obama administration, voting against the Affordable Care Act, and shying away from Alabama’s long-running lottery debate, Davis was defeated in the Democratic primary.

Following this defeat, Davis opted to leave Alabama politics, and controversially switched his loyalties to the Republican Party. Following this switch, Davis gained some notoriety in Republican circles and campaigned on behalf of 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

After the 2012 election, there was speculation that Davis would enter Virginia politics.

Instead, he set his sights on the Montgomery Mayor’s office–—which an African American has yet to hold.

As a native of Montgomery and given his high profile career, he was considered a strong contender for the office.

However, after the votes had been counted, Davis carried only 27% of the vote to incumbent Todd Strange’s 56%.

While this poor showing may have been attributed to a number of reasons, one aspect zeroed in on by the media was the candidate’s possible connection to the controversial dating site Ashley Madison, whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.”

Davis’ name surfaced in connection to the site following the recent data dump just one week before the election, and according to Davis, while he does not allege that Mayor Strange or his campaign was behind the story, they did circulate the allegation.

For Davis’ part, he denied having ever used the website, and theorized that the connection stems from compromised credit cards. While the exact effect this had on the race is hard to gauge, it is worth noting that Davis’ campaign had predicted a runoff prior to the scandal.

Davis, of course, is not the only one in Alabama tarnished by the Ashley Madison hack. While denying he was a user of Hartselle, Mayor Don Hall offered his resignation after being connected to the site.

This scandal may continue to affect the state as analysis has shown that per capita the state ranks the highest in paid use of the site though when it comes to which states provided the site with the most raw revenue according to Digital  Alabama rates much lower.

A number of email accounts have also been included in the information dumps.

As such Davis and Hall may only be the first plagued by such connections to the site.

Kevin Spann
Political Columnist

Leave a Reply