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March 6, 2009

Mike Davis, Baltco political force, dead at 49

Mike Davis, a Venable attorney and longtime aide to C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger when the congressman was Baltimore County Executive, died yesterday afternoon.

Davis, 49, is survived a wife and three children – one of whom is a midshipman at the Naval Academy.

The son of a Baltimore police officer and a Gilman, Harvard and Maryland Law School graduate, Davis had been considered among the sharpest minds in local and state politics.

His love and knowledge of politics was fostered in the class of legendary coach and Gilman history teacher Nicholas Schloeder. His first campaign experience came when he volunteered for Sen. Paul Sarbanes’ 1976 campaign as an assignment for Schloeder’s class, the same assignment that launched several other prominent Maryland political careers. Davis and Schloeder developed a lifelong relationship and formed a political consulting firm, working for judges and other local candidates.

As a Baltimore County aide to Ruppersberger, Davis was a quiet and forceful presence who was central to nearly every decision made by the executive branch of government – often displaying the hard-nosed instincts of the football fullback he had been at prep school.

A 1996 profile by the Baltimore Sun’s Larry Carson described him as “labor negotiator, lobbyist, political guru, confidant and friend” to the county executive who “also finds time to coach his children in sports.” Davis left the Ruppersberger administration to run Sarbanes’ final campaign, in 2000.

Joining Venable, he worked on land use issues but maintained a keen interest in politics.

Davis and his wife, Ann, contracted Hepatitis A last summer. While she recovered, Davis suffered significant liver damage and received an organ transplant. He was hospitalized recently and many of his bodily organs shut down.

Check or the print edition of the paper for a full obituary.

Mike Davis, center, with Bob Barrett and John Hohman in 1996

Posted by David Nitkin at 10:34 AM | | Comments (1)


Mike was one of the top minds on politics as others have hailed to his credit. Not equally stated was his love of sports and great pride in attending his children's many sporting events. He will be deeply missed by the community and those like myself whom he gave time and teaching the game of politics in Maryland along with the game of life.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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