Rep. Jo Ann Davis dies of breast cancer

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Rep. Jo Ann Davis dies of breast cancer:

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis died this morning at her Gloucester home after a battle with breast cancer. She was 57.

Davis was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had a re-occurrence earlier this year.

She had been undergoing treatment at Duke University and was doing well, but her condition deteriorated in the last week, according to a press release from her office.

Service arrangements have not been released.

Davis was a Republican who represented the 1st District.

UPDATE: From the AP via WTOP: Congresswoman Dies After Cancer Fight:

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis, who represented southeastern Virginia for seven years, died Saturday morning after a two-year battle with breast cancer, her office said.

Davis, 57, died at her home in Gloucester.

Davis, a Republican, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had a reoccurrence earlier this year. Her health took a turn for the worse during the past week, her office said.

She was first elected to Congress in 2000, and was a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Her first piece of legislation, passed by the House in 2001, increased the life insurance benefit paid to survivors of military members killed on duty.

Before Congress, Davis served in the Virginia House of Delegates. She was a former real estate broker and a horse enthusiast.

She underwent chemotherapy treatments and a mastectomy when she was first diagnosed in 2005. When her cancer returned, she underwent chemotherapy again and often monitored hearings from home.

She is survived her husband, Chuck, two sons and a granddaughter.

UPDATE #2: From the AP via WTOP: Political Leaders React to Death of Jo Ann Davis:

Reactions to the death of U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-1st, who died Saturday at her home in Gloucester after a two-year battle with breast cancer:

“I always admired Congresswoman Davis’ strong convictions and the tenacity that she brought to bear in acting on them. We shared a warm friendship built around a mutual enjoyment of equestrian sports.”

_U.S. Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va.

“Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis made history when she became the first female Republican elected to the House of Representatives from the commonwealth in 2000. She inspired Virginians as she battled breast cancer while continuing to serve the commonwealth.”

_Gov. Timothy M. Kaine.

“Virginia has lost a passionate advocate for better government, and her legacy as a defender of conservative principles will always be remembered.”

_John Hager, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.

“When her career took her to Washington, the entire commonwealth, and the country, benefited. She was a leader of integrity, common sense, and decency. …In a city where so many seek the bright lights of national publicity over the hard work of effective governing, Jo Ann always focused on the latter.”

_Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell.

“She was a good friend and a tireless advocate for America’s First District, as both she and Herb Bateman referred to the 1st Congressional District of Virginia. While we had different political loyalties, we had no differences in our efforts to work together for the Hampton Roads area and especially the shipping and defense industries.”

_U.S. Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, D-3rd.

“It is fitting that the month of October is dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness. Even as she battled through her own personal adversity, Jo Ann saw her illness as an opportunity to help others and raise awareness for this disease. Her efforts will live on through the lives that she touched.”

_U.S. Rep. Thelma Drake, R-2nd.

“She was a dependable conservative voice on the challenges of our time, but I believe that her greatest contribution was the devoted manner in which she attended to the affairs of her district and the constituents she served.”

_Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

UPDATE #3: Hate to bring this up so soon, but from The Washington Post: Special Election Will Decide Successor to Va. Rep. Davis [emphasis mine]:

The successor to U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.), who died yesterday at age 57, will be chosen during a special election on a date to be set by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), state officials said.


State law does not require Kaine to set the election date within a prescribed amount of time. An aide to the governor said that if Kaine decides not to call for a special election Nov. 6, Election Day for state and local offices, the special election could not be held until 30 days later, according to state law.

“We’re still researching exactly how this will be done,” said Delacey Skinner, Kaine’s communications director.


Two state Republican sources said yesterday that several names have emerged as potential candidates to run for Davis’s seat. Those include state Del. Robert J. Wittman (R-Westmoreland), Del. Melanie L. Rapp (R-York), Sen. Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover), Russ Moulton, former chairman of the 1st District Republican Committee, and GOP activist Paul Jost.

A Democratic source said at least one candidate might emerge from the party: Phil Forgit, an elementary school teacher who ran against Rapp in 2003.

For those not paying attention, Robert Wittman is the delegate for part of Caroline County (along with Robert Orrock and Chris Peace) while Ryan McDougle is the state senator for all of Caroline County.

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