tampabay.com

Davis moves easily ahead

By JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK
Published November 3, 2004


Without a major party opponent, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, D-Tampa, appeared to be easily winning re-election in Florida's 11th Congressional District.

Davis, the former state House majority leader, was beating Libertarian Robert Edward Johnson in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties with about a quarter of precincts reporting. Manatee County did not release partial results.

Davis said he was heartened by the early returns: "Being on the ballot is always a humbling experience. You never really know."

The 11th District includes Tampa and much of southwest Hillsborough, reaching into south St. Petersburg, Palmetto and Bradenton. State lawmakers designed it to concentrate Democrats into one district while removing them from the district of House Appropriations Chairman C.W. Bill Young, R-Largo.

Analysts rated the seat as safe for Davis, 47, from the outset.

No Republicans tried to oust him.

That left Johnson, who turns 47 today and who moved to Tampa a year ago, to provide the opposition. He attacked Davis' positions on a variety of issues, including Davis' support of the resolution for war with Iraq.

He said he thought the timing was right for the Libertarians, but "unfortunately it's not a great result."

Looking forward to his fifth term, Davis said he wants to help craft a prescription drug benefit that helps seniors, repair the No Child Left Behind Act and shore up the war on terrorism.

Local farmer Karl M. Butts, 51, was a write-in candidate.