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 baltimoresun.com or the print edition of the paper for a full obituary.
Mike Davis, center, with Bob Barrett and John Hohman in 1996