Lawyer to challenge Rep. Davidson in Democratic primary


Delaware County Rep. Margo Davidson's sometimes controversial voting record has led to a challenger in the 2014 primary.

Billy J. Smith, a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney, has started raising money to take on the two-term lawmaker from Upper Darby.

And Smith is lining up backers with clout. Former House Rep. Bryan Lentz is hosting a fundraiser for Smith on Dec. 5, according to an invitation obtained by Commonwealth Confidential.

Davidson made southeast political history in 2010 when she became the first Democrat, first woman and first African American elected to represent the 164th legislative district, winning the seat long held by Republican Delaware County Commissioner Mario Civera.

But her record, which includes voting with the GOP on several abortion restriction bills and supporting school vouchers, has made her a target among some Democrats.

Recent legislative redistricting helped protect Davidson's seat from future Republican opponents, but she is just the latest among a number of incumbent Democrats in the southeast who have faced primary challenges.

Most survive, but in an upset last year in Center City Philadelphia, lawyer Brian Sims ousted longtime lawmaker Rep. Babette Josephs.

Smith, who also is African American, previously worked as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia and was a senior assoiciate with the firm Drinker Biddle before starting his private practice.





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