Rep. David Scott (D)
Elected: 2002, 4th term.
Born: June 27, 1946, Aynor, SC .
Education: FL A&M U., B.A. 1967, U. of PA, M.B.A. 1969.
Family: Married (Alfredia); 2 children.
Elected office: GA House of Reps., 1974-82; GA Senate, 1982-2002.
Professional Career: Founder and pres., Dayn-Mark Advertising, 1979-2002.
The congressman from the 13th District is David Scott, a Democrat first elected in 2002. Born in rural South Carolina, Scott is the son of a minister and grandson of a deacon. During his middle-school years, his family moved to tony Scarsdale, N.Y., where his parents took jobs as a chauffeur and housekeeper for a wealthy family. Scott was the only African-American in his otherwise all-white school. He later graduated from Florida A&M University, and then did an internship at the U.S. Labor Department in Washington. There he met George Taylor, an authority in labor-management relations who encouraged the bright young man to apply to the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which Scott did, eventually earning his M.B.A. He moved to Atlanta in the early 1970s, and in 1974, he was elected to the Georgia House. In 1982, he won election to the state Senate, where he chaired the Rules Committee. From 1979 to 2002, he owned Dayn-Mark Advertising, which creates and places radio, television, and print ads. The firm is now operated by his wife and two daughters.
|David Scott (D)||205,919||(69%)||($1,433,435)|
|Deborah Honeycutt (R)||92,320||(31%)||($5,204,670)|
|David Scott (D)||30,719||(64%)|
|Donzella James (D)||17,526||(36%)|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (69%), 2004 (100%), 2002 (60%)
In 2002, Scott made a bid for the newly created 13th District seat. It was obvious that the primary would be decisive in this heavily Democratic district. Four other Democrats ran, the best known of whom was former state party Chairman David Worley, who had nearly defeated Republican Rep. Newt Gingrich in 1990. Scott, however, was familiar to many voters after more than a quarter-century in the state Legislature. And if they didn’t know Scott, they certainly knew of his campaign co-chairman: Hank Aaron, the Hall of Fame slugger and Atlanta-area icon, who is Scott’s brother-in-law. Scott brought his advertising expertise to the campaign, plastering the interstate highways with eye-catching billboards. His chief competitors, Worley and state Sen. Greg Hecht of Clayton County, both white, ran ads attacking each other. Scott won the primary with 54% of the vote and at least 50% in every county but one. He credited God, saying that “a divine hand worked with us.” He won the general election 60%-40%, not a huge ratio but a decisive one.
In the House, Scott’s voting record is centrist for a Democrat, especially on foreign-policy issues. He brought to the chamber nearly three decades’ experience in representing multiracial, multiethnic constituencies. He joined both the liberal Congressional Black Caucus and the conservative Blue Dog Democrats, and showed no reluctance about going his own way. In 2003, he was one of seven House Democrats to vote for final passage of President Bush’s tax cut and one of 16 to vote for the new Republican prescription drug benefit under Medicare. In 2004, he was one of 11 Democrats who angered party leaders by joining Republicans on a procedural vote in support of a measure to buy out tobacco farmers, which Scott helped to write. He split with most of his party by voting for the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
On the Financial Services Committee, Scott criticized predatory lenders that exploit would-be homeowners in poor communities, but he was reluctant to pass measures to eliminate favorable interest deals. He spoke out strongly for extension of the Voting Rights Act and against claims by Georgia Republicans that the law had achieved its goals and was no longer necessary. He initially opposed the bailout of the financial markets; but after Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., promised to address the Congressional Black Caucus’s call for additional protections for homeowners facing foreclosure, Scott switched his vote to support a revised version.
In 2006, Scott faced a primary challenge from Donzella James, who served 10 years in the state Senate and criticized Scott for living outside the district. Scott won 67%-33% and took every county, including 74%-26% in Clayton, which cast the largest vote. In the general election, he was opposed by first-time candidate Deborah Honeycutt, a family physician who surprisingly raised $1.3 million. But she had little name recognition and lost 69%-31%.
Before the 2008 election, Scott was the subject of several unflattering stories about back taxes he owed on his home and business, and about payments out of his campaign fund to family members and Dayn-Mark Advertising. Since his first congressional race in 2002, Scott’s campaign had paid a total of $643,000 to his family and to Dayn-Mark and its employees, the newspaper Politico reported in 2007. An attorney for Scott said that the transactions were legal under campaign finance law. Nonetheless, Scott attracted both primary and general election challenges in 2008. In the Democratic primary, James again challenged Scott and attacked him for backing President Bush on the war in Iraq, for favoring the GOP prescription drug benefit, and for opposing increases in education funding. Scott won 64%-36%. In a November rematch, Honeycutt upped the stakes considerably by spending $5.2 million to try to defeat Scott, who spent far less, $1.4 million. Despite the negative news stories about his finances and purportedly close polls on the eve of the election, Scott swamped Honeycutt, 69%-31%.