Primary day was yesterday with lots of big wins and losses. More on that later. More quietly, last week there was a big loss for Rep. Artur Davis in his bid to become governor of Alabama. Keli Goff had a talk with him over at Loop21. Here’s a slice.

TheLoop21: Did you think Jesse Jackson’s comment was below the belt? [While campaigning against Davis Jackson said, "You can't vote against health care and call yourself a black man."]

Rep. Davis: Not consequential. Ultimately I didn’t make compelling case to voters Black or white for why I should be governor. But there are three things I would like to say for the record for people to remember. I think because we lost by 24 points there will be a tendency to say that we never had a real shot, that this candidacy wasn’t viable, but we were ahead the whole way until the collapse at end. In fact we were ahead by 30 points at one point.

There will be tendency of too many people to focus on race, “we didn’t connect with white voters.” Well we didn’t connect with either. fell short of 40% of whites and Blacks. Democratic voters rejected this candidacy. Lastly I think it’s unfair to say this was all the function of the healthcare vote. Our numbers went up after healthcare. We had an 11 point lead two weeks ago. I think there was an anti-Davis vote waiting among undecided voters.

But you know the voters spoke and spoke in a way that’s very conclusive … and that’s okay and I’m ready to move on.

The defeatist attitude of the black community in Alabama is sorta disappointing in an age when we actually managed to elect a black president. There have been precious few black governors in our nation’s history. Bottom line tho: they can only keep the chains on our feet if they can keep the chains on our minds, y’all. I disagreed vehemently with Davis’ NO vote on healthcare reform. It was the wrong time to make a stand. But it did show courage and I’m a bit sorry that more folks didn’t come out and vote for him. Still, some say Artur Davis walked away from the black folks of Alabama and beyond before they ran away from him. Black Agenda Report ranked him among the most conservative and corporate-friendly of the Congressional Black Caucus along with failed politico Harold Ford (for example). From Sam Stein at HuffPo:

Davis essentially ditched the traditional scriptures of Alabama electoral politics, refusing to seek the endorsements of local African American groups out of the — perhaps noble, but certainly damaging — belief that the days of power-brokering were over.

“Health care was definitely a factor,” said one national Democratic source. “But he also didn’t get along with institutional African American leadership in the state, which is a nice way of putting it. He thought he could win without the Democratic base and the establishment African American in the state.”

At a more superficial, but still noteworthy, level was the extent to which he tried to create distance between himself and the president. Earlier in the campaign, aides to Obama spoke glowingly and excitedly about Davis’ chances — hoping, in a self-interested way, that he could localize the type of campaign Obama had run nationally. But over the course of the year, Davis shied away from the Obama analogy. It was not coincidental that the president didn’t campaign for the congressman (despite being friends), let alone cut a radio ad or send an e-mail solicitation on his behalf

All of which led White House advisers and allies to the conclusion that Davis’ major misstep may have been that he thought he could outrun Obama’s shadow.

“He blew it by running away from [the President],” said a senior Democrat who consulted, from afar on the Davis election effort. “The black community turned on him.”

Do you live in Alabama — what do you think?

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