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Northern Virginia Power Couple Stumbles

by @ 8:32 am on November 10, 2007. Filed under Tom Davis, Virginia, Virginia Politics

The Washington Post has a story this morning on what Tuesday’s elections means for Northern Virginia GOP Power Couple — Tom and Jeannemarie:

Theirs is a partnership of politics and ambition that formed a decade ago and grew into something more.

He was a powerful congressman. She was a fledgling state candidate with promise. A master politician with a national profile, he took her under his wing and found his life’s love.

They both craved the game, and they both sought power. When he moved on to the Senate, she could run for his seat, or perhaps a statewide office in Virginia. Together, they made a life centered around these ambitions.

And then Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, the seven-term Republican from Fairfax County, decided last month that his dream job, the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. John W. Warner, had slipped out of reach. And on Tuesday, the Democratic tide that rose in Northern Virginia swept out of office his wife, state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, a 10-year incumbent.

The rising arc of the Davis brand fell back to earth. Elections are cruel that way.

Now, the man who first came to the Hill as a Senate page and became a leading advocate in Congress for the affairs of the District, suddenly has to contemplate a future away from it all. He probably won’t run for reelection unless he concludes it is a path to the Senate in 2012, say his associates.

“He saw a lifelong goal disappear,” said Republican Gary H. Baise of McLean, a friend of the Davises. “He saw very methodically how he could get there; he would be the natural heir to John Warner. But all of a sudden, events spun out of control. He could no longer control them. So he devoted everything to helping his wife. And so there was just an enormous amount of prestige, power, perception, and his future tied up in his wife’s race.”

And now that Jeannemarie is out of a Richmond job starting in January, the odds are that we’re looking at the beginning of the end of Tom Davis’s political career as well. While I can’t say I’m completely disappointed (for reasons see here and here), the fact remains that, without Davis in the race in 2008, Leslie Byrne will likely have a smooth ride to regain the seat she lost in 1994, and that it will be a long time before any Republican is able to unseat her.

Things might have been different if Davis hadn’t stayed in the House so long. There was talk in the late 90’s about him running for another statewide position — Lt. Governor, Governor — and that could’ve let to other possibilities. At this point, though, I’m guessing they’ll both settle down to lucrative lobbying careers.

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