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Congressman Davis doesn’t feel threatened by candidates entering 2024 race

Representative Danny K. Davis

By Erick Johnson

With two strong candidates running against him in 2024, Congressman Danny K. Davis said he doesn’t feel threatened as a veteran politician seeking a fourteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Davis shared that with the Crusader in a telephone interview hours after City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin on Tuesday, July 11, announced her bid to represent the 7th Congressional District. Earlier in the day, activist Kina Collins, who nearly beat Davis in the Democratic Primary in 2022, announced her campaign to run again on WVON’S Perri Small Show.

It will be a closely watched and heated race between the three candidates vying to represent Chicago’s West Side, which in recent weeks suffered heavy flooding after storms soaked neighborhoods throughout the city.

Endorsements are expected to play a role in the race after Davis backed CB Johnson, a West Side political rookie who lost against 29th Ward Alderman Chris Taliaferro in a close April 4 runoff election. Now, Davis must fight to defend the seat he has held for 26 years, since taking office in 1997. WVON radio host Cliff Kelley has already endorsed Davis’ campaign.

“Danny is like a brother to me. I love him dearly and highly endorse him for re-election in the 7th Congressional District.

“I am strongly opposed to the senseless community challengers opposing Danny for the 7th Congressional District and absolutely have no idea why Melissa is thinking about running.

“Danny has built a successful career in being a people Congressman not just serving his constituents but having the heart and the wherewithal to just help those in need.

“This is not the year nor race to be used, manipulated, or become a spoiler for someone’s personal agenda.

“Too much is at stake in DC and here in Chicago. We can’t afford to lose Danny’s years of leadership, experience, wisdom, and knowledge,” said Kelley.

For decades, Davis has been a household name in Chicago politics.

Born in Parkdale, Arkansas, on September 6, 1941, Davis moved to the West Side of Chicago in 1961, after having earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Arkansas A.M. & N. College. He subsequently earned both master’s and doctorate degrees from Chicago State University and the Union Institute, respectively, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Before seeking public office, Davis had productive careers as an educator, community organizer, health planner/administrator and civil rights advocate. He has received hundreds of awards and citations for outstanding work in the areas of health, education, human relations, politics, and advocacy, including six honorary doctorate degrees from well-known colleges and universities.

Davis was first elected to Congress in 1996 after serving as Cook County Commissioner for the 1st District and Chicago alderman for the 29th Ward. He remains active in Congress and recently introduced a bill to establish the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ as a National Landmark, some 68 years after it held the funeral of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy murdered by two white men after he was accused of whistling at a white woman in 1955 in Money, Mississippi.

In 2024, Davis will defend his seat against Collins, a Chicago activist running to unseat Davis for a third time. In the Democratic Primary in 2022, Collins nearly beat Davis, winning 46 percent of the vote to Davis’ 52 percent.

Collins said, “I’m not afraid of a challenge. I think my supporters are ready. We are ready for this. We showed some vulnerability with the Congressman, and now people smell a bit of blood in the water and they want to join in on the Primary.”

Conyears-Ervin is Chicago’s City Treasurer who won re-election in February, running unopposed. A former state representative, she is the wife of Alderman Jason Ervin (28th). With strong name recognition, she remains a tough contender in the 7th Congressional race.

Conyears-Ervin campaign said in a statement:

“After months of talking to voters throughout the District, the Treasurer is incredibly encouraged by the response to her candidacy. Time and time again, she’s heard how important it is to have leadership in the 7th that relates to the challenges facing working families. As a working mom raised by a single mom in both Englewood and Austin, she has lived those exact concerns.

“She’s humbled at the support she’s received so far in this race and will make an official announcement this fall.”

In an interview with the Crusader, Davis said, “The 7th Congressional District is one of the most interesting places in America. It’s pretty easy to understand why people would want to represent it. It’s going to be a long campaign because people are starting early.”

When asked if he feels threatened, Davis said, “No. But the 7th Congressional District is a wonderful place to live. It has suffered a lot of disappointments. But it has residents who have struggled but made it. I think they know who has stood with them all this time.

“I’m not surprised [by these candidates]. But there will be other candidates who will run.”

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