Saturday, November 1, 2008

Davis stumping through First Congressional District: Pipestone Star

By Duane Winn
November 1, 2008

Republican Brian Davis offers a fair facsimile of a football coach who tells his troops at halftime that although they are behind, they still have a fighting chance of pulling off an upset. Or perhaps Davis is exhorting his players not to be complacent; that although they are enjoying a healthy lead, they still need to play hard to sew up victory.

Davis said there are no published polls of which he is aware that show either him or his incumbent opponent, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, DFL-Mankato, in the lead for Minnesota’s First Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Davis, a Rochester physician, half-joking, asked each Republican gathered Friday at Lange’s CafĂ© in Pipestone to call 200 of his or her closest friends to urge them to vote for him. Pipestone County is a bastion of conservatism. In 2006, it was one of four counties in the district that longtime Republican incumbent Gil Gutknecht carried en route to a stunning setback at the hands of Walz.

With five days left until the general election, Davis is making a swing through his district, even where his support is the strongest, outlining where he stands on the issues and combating what he calls mischaracterizations of his positions by the enemy camp.

“We can win this election. We have to get every vote out,” Davis said Friday. "When it comes to important issues like the economy and energy, we have the right answers — at least, we’re offering solutions to these problems.

"Davis said Friday that he believes in the right to life (“Life begins at conception”). He also stated that the United States should drill offshore for oil. Davis also believes that the nation’s health care system doesn’t need to be revamped, just fine-tuned, emphasizing an increase in insurance portability and preventive treatment.

These platforms, Davis said, make sense for the entire country, not just for Republicans. However, he believes that the Walz campaign is trying to prevent his positions from getting out by mischaracterizing his positions on certain hot-button issues, such as Social Security a national sales tax.

A Walz radio ad claimed that Davis wants to cut guaranteed Social Security benefits for senior citizens.

“I think this is the most egregious mischaracterization, that I want to cut benefits,” Davis said.

“You cannot get that from anything I’ve said. I do not want to cut benefits. People rely on it, and it’s the best anti-poverty program that we have.

“Secondly, he’s mischaracterizing me on the privatization. He says I want to privatize all Social Security and put in the stock market, gamble it all away on the stock market.

”Davis stated that the DFL Party is claiming in ads and brochures that he supports a national sales tax when, in fact, he’s never publicly stated his approval for it.

Davis said that given the economic climate, all potential strategies should be looked at. He said, though, that he wouldn't support the idea until exhaustive research showed that it was a feasible idea.Davis said these accusations are designed to “frighten people needlessly.”

“It’s not a productive means of bringing issues to public discourse,” Davis said.Davis also took the Walz campaign to task for insistently referring to him as a “millionaire,” hinting that he doesn’t understand middle-class concerns.

“It’s a certain type of class warfare and politics that just isn’t productive,’ said Davis.

Former state legislator Verne Long, of Pipestone, said that no congressional candidate in this district within recent memory has featured gifts like those of Davis. In addition to being a physician, which gives Davis a unique perspective into health care issues, Davis also holds a degree in nuclear engineering. This gives Davis special insight into dealing with our energy problems, Long concluded.