Former Elk Grove Mayor pens book on winning political office, waxes about being 'an Incumbent slayer'



In a week where one former Elk Grove mayor criticized the current one, it was learned another former mayor self-published a how-to-book on conducting successful political campaigns. 

The author, former Elk Grove city council member and mayor Gary Davis, published his book "Preparing to Run for Local Office: Community Leadership Handbook. Available on Amazon, the description for the book says, "It’s full of insider strategies, tools, and tactics that can position you as the front-runner the day you announce your candidacy for local office."

Davis served as an Elk Grove City Councilmember for District 4 from 2006 until 2012 when he was the city's first directly elected mayor. Davis, who was seeking his third two-year term, unexpectedly dropped out, paving the way for then Councilmember Steve Ly, who served for two terms until he was defeated in 2020 by current Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen.

On the Amazon page, Davis states he has helped over 350 local candidates win office. Not mentioned in the description, Davis works with the California Charter School Association as vice president of civic and political affairs, where his work description says he is involved in "CCSA Advocate's candidate development work across California."  

Although a Democrat, Davis's association with the charter school movement has often put him at odds with party leaders who are closely affiliation with various teacher unions, who generally oppose charter schools. On several occasions, Davis has attempted to obtain funding from the Elk Grove Unified School District for a local charter school.

An accompanying website, where Davis waxed about "becoming an incumbent slayer," traces his political involvement at Sacramento State, where he says he and others upset about the closing of the campus women's center "did the college student thing and protested and rallied the campus activist community. We stormed the Student Government chambers, pleaded our case, and….. lost." It was then Davis says he realized "the power of being on the other side of the podium."

While Davis unexpectedly dropped out of office, rumors have persisted of his return to political office. Last summer, he had expressed interest in battling his former ally and then-mayor Steve Ly.

More recently, reliable sources have said if Elk Grove District 4 Councilmember Stephanie Nguyen decides to run for the California Assembly within hours of her announced candidacy, he will enter the race for District 4. 

In 2010 Davis announced his Congressional candidacy but quickly dropped out when now Rep. Ami Bera entered the race and unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Republican Rep. Dan Lungren. Earlier this year, Davis declared his candidacy for District 5 of the Sacramento Board of Supervisors but dropped out when his former Elk Grove City Council colleague Pat Hume, first elected in Elk Grove with Davis in 2006, declared his candidacy.  

Davis' website also says "Although my personal political story likely isn’t over, I am now at a point in my life where I have gained significant wisdom from running for office and coaching over 200 candidates across the finish line and want to help more and more people get elected to local office." 


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5 comments

D.J. Blutarsky said...


Good stuff here. "...I attended CSU Sacramento where I learned the art of climbing the corporate ladder"...do you mean ladder as in window washer? Painter? Drapery installer?

Live from Elk Grove, it's Thursday Night Live!

Eye on Elk Grove said...

Where it is in the book where Gary Davis outlines his strategy by writing he had breakfast with one candidate, along with others. In that meeting, he "gave his word" to do everything within his power to beat the Elk Grove City Council incumbent the candidate was running against.

But wait on the weekend before the election, a mailer with Davis' photoshopped smile is received supporting that same incumbent he vowed to beat.

Davis' word isn't worth the pages his book is written on!

Renegade said...

OMG! Does this man have no shame? I just read his autobiography posted on line. He's our self-proclaimed savior of community and the same earlier when he was at Sac State. Everywhere he was a winner, except in those races he knew he couldn't win, so he ran away with his tail between his legs before he could be labeled a loser. He only plays the game when it's obvious he will win.
As mayor, he got nothing done. I recall the city hall chambers being completely full of kids from 5-19, coaches, and soccer parents excited for the coming announcement that he had procured 100 acres for a sports complex. Not only that but pro soccer would be coming here as well. So much excitement. Gary Davis could have run for King and won that night.
That pipe dream? It's now a vacant field that was recent sold for future building of a tractor factory. Millions of Elk Grove tax $$ spent on lobbying and purchase of that property.
This is just one example, many more occurred during Gary Davis's mayoral tenure. How about his going to Texas and demanding the Howard Hughes Corp build our mall? Remember that? How'd that turn out?
Gary can ingratiate himself to the public better than most, but he has never delivered for us. He was hired by the hospital to convince the public it was a good place to build a hospital in the middle of a flood plain. He took the money over what was best for this community. He sold EG out for money.
We've had Gary Davis, we don't need him again.

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

With all due respect to the mayor-emeritus, Mr. Davis might want to tone down his self-lauding a notch or two. Writing his self-congratulatory book, let's call it The Art of My Greatnessas well as his online biography, well, makes him look like former President Donald J. Trump.

Unless he secretly is trying to emulate Mr. Trump in everyway possible, not an advisable strategy to employ in attempt to return to office in a city that has twice rejected Trump.

Steve L said...

Agreeing with above posters. Davis talks a great game, ingratiates himself to those who don’t follow city politics and fails to deliver on every promise ever made. EG needs new blood, not stale empty rhetoric that Davis is known for. Remember, he sold out his own neighborhood for a buck with a losing hospital support proposed in flood plain. Go away, Gary Davis!

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