Phil Davison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Phil Davison
Born 1971[1]
Occupation Councilman, Minerva, Ohio

Philip Lee "Phil" Davison (born July 1, 1971) is a former councilman and Deputy Mayor for the village of Minerva, Ohio, United States, who became an internet celebrity due to the aggressive and passionate manner of speaking he employed while unsuccessfully seeking the Republican Party nomination for the office of the Stark County Treasurer in September 2010.[2]


Davison graduated from Minerva High School in 1989. He attended the University of Akron, where he earned bachelor's degrees in history and sociology, and master's degrees in public administration and communication. For a brief time he was a pro wrestler under the name "The Big P".[1][3]


In 1995, Davison ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Minerva.[4] In 1996, he ran unsuccessfully for clerk of courts,[5] and also lost a bid for county commissioner in 2000.[6][7] Davison first won election to the Minerva Village council in 1997.[8] He was re-elected to four additional four-year terms,[9] and was appointed Deputy Mayor.[10] He decided not to seek re-election in 2013, which would have been his first election since his 2010 speech went viral.[11]

Until 2009, he was employed as a bailiff for Judge Charles Brown of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas.[6]

2010 speech and aftermath[edit]

During a September 8, 2010 meeting of the Stark County Republican Party at Malone University, Davison delivered a six-minute speech expressing his interest in the party's nomination for County Treasurer. Though Davison lost the nomination to North Canton finance director Alexander Zumbar,[6] Huffington Post citizen journalist Martin Olson's recording of Davison's speech[12] went viral upon its posting on YouTube.[13] By October 2011, YouTube users had viewed the video nearly 2.6 million times.[14] Thereafter, Davison was flown to New York City for an appearance on Good Morning America and to Cleveland for an interview with Inside Edition.[15] He was featured in major media outlets throughout the United States[16] and the world. During his appearances, Davison discussed his astonishment with his instant celebrity, commenting on how he "woke up Thursday thinking it would be just another day" but then began receiving phone calls for media requests.[15][17] In response to the public interest in his speech, Davison remarked:

If one person would get up and do something different, like go to a village council meeting or go talk to a neighbor about getting an improvement in water, an improvement in sewer, an improvement in fire protection or police protection, then I've done something worthwhile. I encourage everyone to run for office and go out and question the people who are representing you. I wish more people came to our meetings and said, 'Hey, what are you people doing up there?'[18]

Six months later, Davison appeared on the March 8, 2011 episode of Comedy Central's Tosh.0 in a "web redemption" parody taped the previous November. In it, Davison made a mock presidential campaign announcement,[19] foreshadowing an actual presidential campaign as unsuccessful candidate for the Boston Tea Party's 2012 presidential nomination. [20]

He appeared in a 2013 television commercial for Volkswagen which aired during Super Bowl XLVII after a "teaser" version of the ad had run a few days prior. The ad featured Davison and other YouTube personalities appearing with reggae singer Jimmy Cliff.[21][22] In October of that year, Davison's speech was ranked #1 on Washington Post writer Aaron Blake's list of "The 12 best political rants". Blake commented that Davison "will never be usurped in the rant department."[23]

In January 2014, Davison topped CNN's ranking of "the best rants ever".[24] In July of that year, he appeared on the ABC-TV program 20/20 in a segment titled "Losing It.[25]


  1. ^ a b Experience is key for Minerva council's three candidate, The News Leader (Ohio), October 28, 2009
  2. ^ Young, Kelli (September 9, 2010). "Fiery local speech is a YouTube sensation". The Repository. Canton, Ohio. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  3. ^ (October 8, 2009) Minerva candidate profiles, The Repository
  4. ^ Stark County Village Races, Akron Beacon Journal, November 3, 2005 ("ran for Minerva mayor in 1995")
  5. ^ Stark County General Election Results, November 5, 1996 ("FOR CLERK OF COURT OF COMMON PLEAS / REP - PHIL DAVISON 55,416 - 37.58 % / DEM - PHIL G. GIAVASIS 92,042 - 62.42% / Total 147,458 - 100.00%)
  6. ^ a b c Gauger, Jeff (September 13, 2010) Davison’s rant was long on style but notably short on substance, The Repository
  7. ^ Zeigler stays as treasurer, Akron Beacon Journal, November 8, 2000 (noting Davison's loss in 2000, 61% to 39%)
  8. ^ Freeland, Denise R. (October 28, 2009). "Minerva council candidates discuss qualifications and issues". News Leader. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Rowe, Davison sworn in to serve on Minerva Village Council in 2010". News Leader. January 5, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ Freeland, Denise R. (January 22, 2008). "Minerva Council holds organizational meeting". News Leader. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ Young, Kelli (August 8, 2013). "Candidates, issues make November election filing deadline". Canton Repository. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ Olson, Martin (September 9, 2010). "Phil Davison, GOP Candidate, FREAKS OUT Trying To Sell Candidacy (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  13. ^ Hartenstein., Meena (September 12, 2010). "Little-known Ohio Republican Phil Davison rockets to YouTube fame with impassioned campaign speech". New York Daily News. 
  14. ^ "Phil Davison, GOP Candidate, Delivers Stark County Treasurer Speech, 9 8 2010". YouTube. September 9, 2010. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Lewis, Kimberly (September 15, 2010). "Minerva councilman enjoying the moment as YouTube sensation". News Leader. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  16. ^ Condon, Stephanie (September 9, 2010). "Phil Davison, Local GOP Candidate in Ohio, Gives Screeching Stump Speech". Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  17. ^ Bellantoni, Christina (September 9, 2010). "Phil Davison Of Freakout Viral Video Has Never Used YouTube -- Calls It 'Electronic Server'". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  18. ^ Freeland, Denise R. (September 29, 2010). "Councilman Davison raises question of restoring the Southern Inn". News Leader. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Phil Davison to appear on Comedy Central on Tuesday". The Repository. March 7, 2011. 
  20. ^ "2012 Presidential Hopefuls Grouped By Party". The Green Papers. January 5, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  21. ^ Young, Kelli "Davison to appear in VW’s Super Bowl teaser ad", The Canton Repository. January 31, 2013
  22. ^ "Volkswagen's Super Bowl Teaser Stars Internet's Misfits", January 24, 2013
  23. ^ Blake, Aaron (October 29, 2013) "The 12 best political rants", The Washington Post. Retrieved March 16, 2015
  24. ^ "Minerva's Phil Davison tops CNN's list of greatest rants", The Canton Repository. January 21, 2014.
  25. ^ "Scoop: 20/20 on ABC - Tonight, July 25, 2014", July 25, 2014.