Davis beats Day for Republican endorsement

Dr. Brian Davis
Republican candidate Dr. Brian Davis of Rochester will take on Democratic Rep. Tim Walz this November.
MPR Photo/Sea Stachura

Republican Candidate Brian Davis won last night's 1st Congressional District primary.

Davis faced off against long-time state senator Dick Day. Davis beat Day with more than 66 percent of the vote.

Davis will go on to face Democratic incumbent Tim Walz in this November's election.

Dr. Brian Davis
Dr. Brian Davis is opposed to Universal Health Care and believes people in the district want the U.S. to drill for oil on the coast and in Alaska's wildlife refuge.
MPR Photo/Sea Stachura

The race was called around 10:30 p.m. Just as Mayo Clinic Doctor Brian Davis was accepting congratulations, he was also saying goodnight to supporters.

Davis will challenge first-term Democratic incumbent Tim Walz of Mankato. Brian Davis is relatively new to politics. He has never held office, and has worked in both oncology and nuclear energy.

Nonetheless he won the Republican Party endorsement last night and said his win in the primary is a result of that support.

"We have very strong county organizations, county republican party organizations across the district. And it means a lot. And they work very hard and they look at candidates very closely. So we had the opportunity to spend so much time with delegates and alternates and activists across the district that the endorsement process does mean a lot," Davis said.

Sen.  Dick Day
Sen. Dick Day believed he would because of his conservative views , his 18-year record in the state senate and his position as the former house majority leader.
MPR Photo/Tom Scheck

Davis even spoke to the Minnesota delegation at the RNC last week. In the face of all that support, Republican state senator Dick Day of Owatonna challenged Davis.

Day said he believed he would win the primary based on three things: his 18-year record in the state senate, his position as the former Senate minority leader and his conservative views.

"Against me he went to the right of the right of the right. And it works in a primary, but my goodness, I'm a little nervous," Day said.

Day and Davis share similar views on most subjects, but Day was referring to Davis's unwillingness at Farm Fest to answer whether he would have supported the Farm Bill. Some have taken that to mean he might not.

Brian Davis said he will campaign on issues that are critical to the first district: "energy, the economy, taxes, health care, immigration and others."

Listening to Walz
Barbara and David Heim of St. Charles listen as Rep. Tim Walz talks about the economy.
MPR Photo/Sea Stachura

Davis said he is opposed to Universal Health Care and believes people in the district want the U.S. to drill for oil on the coast and in Alaska's wildlife refuge.

"Also when it comes to taxes, we have a situation with the current tax structure that is in place that is bound to get worse if these tax cuts expire in 2011, as it pertains to estate taxes, capital gains taxes, corporate taxes," Davis said.

No poll has been conducted on the First District, but the district is typically considered to be conservative. Democratic Rep. Tim Walz's victory in 2006 came as a surprise to some.

Political analysts offer a variety of reasons that Walz would be hard to beat, beyond his record and name recognition: he's widely regarded as a centrist, the National Rifle Association endorses him and he's open to drilling for oil in Alaska.

Walz's campaign spokesperson Chris Schmitter said he congratulates Davis on his win, but added this:

"Dr. Davis has shown in just the last two weeks he's run a negative TV ad that several newspapers have called misleading. And he's trying to adhere to his party's platform and use that Washington negative party playbook and it's just not going to resonate with the people in southern Minnesota."

The Minnesota Secretary of State's Office expects high voter turnout in November, and that could help either candidate.

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