Hilliard Loses Primary

Former federal prosecutor Artur Davis pulled off what some would have said is impossible, unseating Cong. Earl Hilliard, who had a strong base in Birmingham.

But Davis apparently appealed to voters across the district that stretches from Birmingham to Selma to West Alabama.

"I had a confidence and fundamental belief in this campaign that if you talk about issues, if you talk about changing people's lives in fundamental ways, that you just might find an audience," said Davis, 34, a Harvard-educated lawyer.

Davis said the issues were economic development, health care and education. But the heated issues were Davis' out-of-state financial support from the Jewish community and Hilliard's trip to Libya in 1997 and his stand for a "more balanced policy" toward the Mideast.

"He had the money," said Hilliard. "We paid our campaign workers, we started out paying them $50. He paid $100 in the primary. In the runoff we paid $100. He paid $200. So this was a campaign where finance, I think, made the difference."

Hilliard also got contributions from out of state, from Arab Americans and pro-Palestinian groups. Basking in the victory Tuesday, Davis offered an olive branch to the 28-year political veteran.

" I look forward to burying the hatchet," said Davis. "He still has some service to offer this community. He still has some experience to offer this community. And if he will let me, I intend to benefit from that."

Davis said Hilliard is and always will be the first Black to represent Alabama since Reconstruction.


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