Third Time’s the Charm for Derrick L. Davis

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Derrick Leon Davis, running for the third time, won the Democratic primary for the District 6 County Council seat left vacated by disgraced former Councilwoman Leslie Johnson. Davis will face off against Republican Day Gardner in the general election.

Davis, who finished a close second to Johnson in last year’s primary, won with 54.5 percent of the vote with the next closest competitor being Arthur Turner at 19.15 percent.

It was billed as a two-person race between Davis and Turner, former chair of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee. Turner had grassroots support along with endorsements from Prince George’s Coalition for Change.

Turner also succeeded in communicating and organizing this campaign more effectively than he did his campaign in 2010. He surrounded himself with a communications department that allowed him to reach grassroots organizers and grasp endorsements from several council members including Chairwoman Ingrid Turner, D.-Dist. 4, and Karen Toles, D.-Dist. 7.

However, Davis, who has long been an ally of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, received an endorsement in the days leading up to the election and that proved to be the difference. Baker, a popular official in the county, has influence none of his other endorsers has.

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“We support Derrick Leon Davis for the good of the county to re-establish our credibility,” Baker said two weeks ago. “We're doing it to create the jobs that will make this county the economic engine that it should be. He is the future of Prince George's County. He will help move us forward.”

Mark Polk, who received an endorsement from the Washington Post in the 2010 election, got little support this time around as his criticism of Baker and some of his initiatives has cost him popularity and appears to have cost him votes.

Davis, the chairman of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, has worked in several capacities. In the early 1990’s, he served as the Constituent Services Aide for former Prince George’s Councilwoman Jo Ann T. Bell. Davis has also worked in the Prince George’s County Public School system and is credited for being a catalyst behind expanded hours for Head Start students in the county.

Voter turnout was low with nearly 10,000 fewer voters showing up than for last year’s primary. The 6,575 votes cast represented only 9.52 percent of the 69,092 registered voters in District 6.

Davis will be the heavy favorite against Gardner in a county that is 78 percent Democratic. It is expected that Davis will win by an even larger margin than that.
The general election is scheduled for Oct. 18.