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Challenger Davis bills himself as conservative

Brian Davis of Rochester speaks to a rally for GOP presidential candidate John McCain. Davis, a Mayo Clinic doctor, is running against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz.2 / 2

T. PAUL -- Radical environmentalists control U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and other Democrats, according to the first-term congressman's Republican opponent.

"You should be asking yourself who is representing you in Congress," Brian Davis said, indicating Walz listens more to lobbyists than he does residents in his southern Minnesota 1st Congressional District. "They have been beholden to radical environmentalists."

Davis is a Mayo Clinic doctor who emphasizes energy in his campaign, often bringing up what he sees as a need to promote more off-shore drilling.

The Republican said former state House Speaker Steve Sviggum of Kenyon encouraged him to run. But Davis has no intention of serving in Congress anything like the nearly 30 years Sviggum served in the state House.

"I am not looking to be a career politician," Davis said. "I don't need to rely on it as a source of future livelihood. I want to go there and do what I think is right."

Davis said his conservative values are closer to what voters believe than are Walz's values. Davis emphasizes traditional conservative issues.

Walz said he does not think Davis' values fit the district.

"I'm proud of the values I stand for and I believe my vision for the future of southern Minnesota stands in stark contrast to Dr. Davis' view," Walz said. "I'm eager to ensure southern Minnesotans see the differences between us."

This is Davis' first foray into politics.

"When I moved to Minnesota a dozen years ago, I was pleased with the conservative representation we had in Congress," Davis said.

But two years ago, Walz beat long-time GOP congressman Gil Gutknecht. Davis said that caused his concern about the country to increase and he was willing to listen to Sviggum and others who urged him to run.

Davis was raised in Illinois, graduating from high school in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan.

Before becoming a physician, he used his nuclear engineering degree working on the licensing and design of nuclear power plants and radioactive waste management.

Davis left the nuclear power plant field for the nuclear medicine arena, getting training in inner-city Chicago and Evanston, Ill. He later obtained radiation oncology training at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Davis easily beat long-time state Sen. Dick Day of Owatonna in the Sept. 19 GOP primary election.

Since launching his campaign, news reports have detailed late property tax payments both on his main Rochester home and a summer home in Wisconsin.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.