Prospects for Democratic candidates to flip the 11th Congressional District from eight years of Republican control brightened somewhat with the unexpected announcement that U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows won’t seek re-election.
“Our nightmare is over,” one of three Democrats competing for the seat, retired Air Force Col. Moe Davis, said in a news release. “I entered the NC-11 race a month ago after the gerrymandered lines were redrawn and I made my top priority unseating Mark Meadows. Done!”
“While Meadows’s departure is clearly a positive first step for working men and women in Western North Carolina, Republican policies remain in place and hold working people down,’’ Davis added. “While unemployment is low, the poverty rate in Western North Carolina is well above the national average. Our kids rank in the bottom third of the nation in math and reading skills. We have far more people without healthcare coverage than other states. Those are the issues I will tackle when I’m in office. I’ll fight for policies that benefit average folks, not the top one percent. We’ll see if perhaps a rising working-class tide lifts the one-percent’s yachts. When I got into this race, I got in it to win it and make Western North Carolina Mountain Strong! We can do this!”
Davis, who grew up in Shelby, spent 25 years in the Air Force, was chief prosecutor for terrorism trials at Guantanamo Bay and has served as a judge and law professor. A national security expert, Davis has appeared on NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox and NPR.
Davis, 61, attended Appalachian State in Boone and joined the Air Force in 1983, rising to colonel in 2001 before retiring in 2008. His military awards include the prestigious Legion of Merit, six Meritorious Service Medals, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Davis says he has challenged both Democrats and Republicans. He stood against the Bush administration’s use of torture and stood up to the Obama Administration, winning a lawsuit on the free speech rights of government employees.
Davis most recently served as a judge at the U.S. Department of Labor. He and his wife, Lisa, are building a home in Asheville. They have a daughter, Ashley, who lives in Falls Church, Va.
Also running for the Democratic nomination are Gina Collias of Asheville and Steve Woodsmall of Pisgah Forest and Moe Davis of Asheville. Tamara Lynn Zwinak, a Green Party candidate from Franklin, has also filed for the seat.