Cicely Davis, the Republican-endorsed challenger to Rep. Ilhan Omar in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District, says she started embracing conservatism after identifying a “disconnect” between her Christian values and the Democratic Party she was raised to support.
Along with two other former Democrats, Davis shared her journey as part of the WalkAway town hall at the Minneapolis Central Library on Thursday evening.
Davis recounted how from a young age her parents and the broader black community taught her through social and cultural pressure that it was only acceptable for her to vote Democrat.
“I was given a talk, it was very quick, from my mother,” she said. “And her basic political explanation was that one [party] is for the rich, one is for the poor. Republicans are for the rich; they don’t care about us. And the political party that’s for the poor is Democrats, and they’re the ones that are inclusive and care about everyone …”
But as Davis got older, she began noticing tension between the rigorous Christian values of her community and the values of their beloved Democratic Party — values which she perceived to be the “exact opposite” of Christianity.
She also picked up on the “self-reliance” taught by 19th century writer and former slave Frederick Douglass, and received a strong dose of American exceptionalism from veterans she spent time with while volunteering at the St. Cloud VA.
“I just recognized that, you know what, I am hopelessly and wonderfully conservative and Republican, I need to vote my values and just live it every day, support candidates who align with my values. And I haven’t turned back since,” Davis said.
Although Davis formally received the Republican endorsement against Omar, former NBA player Royce White is remaining in the race for a shot at winning the primary against her.
Davis has received further endorsements from Stand for Health Freedom and the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.
Other speakers at the WalkAway town hall included Minnesota state House candidate Allen Shen and Roman Andrew. Similar to Davis, Shen said actions taken by former President Barack Obama led him to start questioning the Democratic stance on various issues, specifically Obama’s attitudes toward China, Iran, and the Taliban.
Andrew, who is openly bisexual, said he used to be Democrat because he thought the party best represented liberal values like “tolerance” and “open-mindedness.” But by his late 20s, roughly around the year 2018, he developed a distaste for liberals at events shouting down and “canceling” conservatives whose views they disagreed with.
The scales also fell from Andrew’s eyes when he started researching common Democratic claims about the economy and found them to be clichéd falsehoods.