Karen Mathews Davis: Death Threats Won’t Keep Me from Running for Congress

Karen Mathews Davis, a former Stanislaus County clerk-recorder, says she is not going to let death threats keep her from running for California’s 9th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Democratic U.S. Representative Gerald M. “Jerry” McNerney. Mathews Davis is no stranger to threats and says she refuses to back down.

“I received a threat to my life and my husband’s life in the end of December,” she said in a phone interview. “It caused real pause for me — in fact a lot of fear because I have received threats in the past. I almost dropped out, but after a lot of prayer and tremendous support from my husband, we decided we must go forward.”

After she was elected Stanislaus County’s new clerk-recorder in 1990, Mathews Davis said she began to receive threats from people who wanted her to get rid of their IRS leans — and break the law by doing so. The threats continued to escalate over the next few years, and included bullets left in her mailbox and a simulated bomb under her car. In 1994, she was assaulted by a man hired to kill her. Her attacker was arrested and sentenced to 19 years in prison. Nine men total were convicted after 18 months of investigation.

“Those who threaten my right to run for office, threaten our greatest institution… and that’s democracy,” Mathews Davis said. “If I back down, I allow terrorism to win.”

Despite the severity of the threats and the attempt on her life, she stayed in office for 11 years — from 1990-2001. Her commitment to public service, she says, has has been guided by her ability to solve problems.

Those who threaten my right to run for office, threaten our greatest institution... and that's democracy.
Karen Mathews Davis
“I balanced my budgets and saved the county of Stanislaus money during my years of serving there,” Mathews Davis said in a press release. “We need a member of Congress who is interested in District 9 and not the political labels and partisan bickering.”

According to her, the district is in need of true representation in Congress and that was one of the main reasons she decided to get into the 2014 race. Mathews Davis said that many people she has talked to have expressed frustration over the fact that when they try to contact McNeary’s office, they get no response.

,” she said. “You need to be responsive to those people on every level, whether it is support for bills or phone calls — at least recognizing that you are an important member of the congressional district.”

Karen Mathews Davis will officially announce her candidacy for California’s 9th Congressional District on Thursday, February 6, 2014, at the Stockton Police Department.