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Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program

The Georgia Political Papers and Oral History Program is comprised of over 3,000 linear feet of archival collections, along with an extensive number of oral history interviews, that document the unique political culture of the state of Georgia.

Dock Davis

Interviewed by Dr. Mel Steely on May 25, 1998 at Dock Davis' home in Franklin, Georgia.; Dock Davis (1940 - ) is an Atlanta attorney with a law office in his hometown of Franklin in Heard County, Georgia. The Democrat challenged Newt Gingrich for the U.S. Congressional seat in 1980 and lost. Davis had worked for Jimmy Carter in the 1970 governor's race and was an assistant to Carter in the White House. Davis also worked on George Busbee's re-election campaign in 1974.; Davis briefly illustrates a portrait of his family history, which has deep roots in Georgia, and providing details about what he refers to as a 'typical' childhood in rural Heard County, his attendance at Salem Methodist Church, and at Heard County High School. He describes his pursuit of a degree in political science at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, as well as his involvement with extracurricular activities and ROTC. After graduating in 1962, he joined the Navy, serving in the Vietnam War until 1965. When Davis arrived back in the United States, he enrolled at Emory in Atlanta; he describes his interactions with war protestors and professors who gave him difficulty for his involvement in the armed services and Davis gives his opinion on war as a whole. After Davis completed law school in 1969, his first job was as legal counsel for the city judiciary committee in Atlanta. He describes working on Carter's campaign for governor in 1970, going in depth with anecdotal stories of his experiences with Jimmy Carter's campaign and term as governor (1971-75). After Davis left the state's service in 1973, he began to practice law. In 1974 he worked with George Busbee's campaign for governor and then with Carter's campaign for presidency in 1975. Davis goes on to discuss Carter's personality at length, recalling Carter's intolerance for the "good ol' boy" network and the nuances of his interactions with others, from staff to fellow politicians. Around 1976, Davis moved back to Heard County after having become tired of the politics at the capital. He got involved more in local politics, speaking at length as to his involvement with the school board. In 1980 Davis ran against Gingrich; he divulges the specifics as to why he decided to run against Gingrich for the House of Representatives, both personally and philosophically. He describes at length the tactics he used and the details of his campaign against Gingrich and the support he received from the Democratic National Committee. After losing the campaign, Davis continued to support other politicians in their campaigns, such as Joe Frank Harris, as he himself ran for local positions. In 1991, a representative from Davis' district died and he discusses his success in running for the position that was left vacant, as well as going into the details of the issue of district divisions that arose at the time. He then talks about his experiences with other politicians while in the House of Representatives, such as with Tom Murphy and Zell Miller. Davis closes by reminiscing about his involvement with politics, emphasizing that politics had never been the driving force in his life, that he never truly considered himself a politician.