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D.C. conservative to join GOP race for Senate

August 16, 2003

BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter

The already-crowded race for Illinois' open U.S. Senate seat has attracted a candidate who doesn't live in the state.

Antonio Davis-Fairman, an African-American conservative, announced Friday he's joining the contest to succeed Sen. Peter Fitzgerald.

The 37-year-old self-described entrepreneur said he would run in the Republican primary that has drawn 11 announced and potential candidates.

Davis-Fairman said he would fight to privatize Social Security and support federal funding for church-based social programs. He said he recently signed a pledge with Americans for Tax Reform that he would not raise taxes if elected. He said he would push for a federal "flat tax" and a third regional airport at Peotone.

Davis-Fairman lives in Washington, D.C., but is in the process of moving to the Chicago area, said a spokesman, Richard Pirovano. He has not yet filed his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, Pirovano said. Davis-Fairman has never run for office, but he said he was a consultant for Ike Kelley, an unsuccessful candidate in a City Council race this year in Denver.

He attended Gordon Tech in Chicago and Northern Illinois University at DeKalb but did not graduate from the college, Pirovano said.

In a news conference at the Chicago Athletic Club, Davis-Fairman said he received encouragement to run from "folks," but would not say who they were.

Davis-Fairman released a resume saying he was a "former senior managing partner of a private investment firm." The name of the firm is Kane, Pirovano said. In his resume, Davis-Fairman said he led the formation of a $50 million merchant banking portfolio.

Davis-Fairman said he will need to raise at least $2 million to compete for the race and is starting from scratch.

At his news conference, he mentioned that his father was president of Public Benefit Corp. and ran D.C. General Hospital in Washington. John A. Fairman was fired amid allegations of mismanagement and fraud as his facility went bankrupt in 2000, according to the Washington Post.

Davis-Fairman also mentioned in his resume that his uncle is J.W. Fairman, who resigned in 1996 as head of Cook County Jail after being questioned about alleged improprieties there.

"I know my dad's a great man and my uncle is a great man, as well," Davis-Fairman said. "They passed through all those problems."


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