Phil Davison Talks About the Speech That Made Him a Viral Star

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Phil Davison, shown here more calm than youre used to seeing him.
  • Phil Davison, shown here more calm than you're used to seeing him.

Phil Davison became an overnight internet sensation this week after a fiery, bizarre speech he made while campaigning to become Stark County Treasurer.

He lost his bid, but he's won some fans.

(If you haven't watched the video yet, do so here.)

So what made Davison go crazy? Who is this Davison guy anyway? Can he MC your wedding?

All those questions and more answered after the jump.

Davison, 39, is a councilman in Minerva, a job which pays him a whopping $12,480 a year.

As he declares, emphatically we might add, in the video, he has four degrees. NPR says that he's worked at Target, local factories, and as a bailiff. Davison continues to struggle to find even minimum-wage work.

But what about the speech?

NPR has the details:


But what Davison lacks in funding, he apparently makes up for in passion. His speech to the Stark County Republican Committee Wednesday night was recorded by a local political blogger and posted online, where, unsurprisingly, it went viral. Some of the Internet’s most influential political blogs, including MSNBC’s First Read and Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire posted the video online (the original YouTube version has been disabled and re-uploaded by The Huffington Post).

In his first interview since the video went viral, Davison told Need to Know that he was baffled by all the attention. He wasn’t especially angry when he gave the speech, and nothing in particular had set him off, he said. Afterward, he received a polite reception from the audience, and when he lost the nomination, Davidson approached the winner, shook his hand and said “Good luck.”

“Some people call it fanaticism. I call it being a believer,” Davison said. He confessed, though, that some amount of frustration with his personal situation — his inability to find and keep even a minimum-wage job, the crumbling of his youthful ideals into hard-bitten, world-weary pragmatism — may have informed his speech.

“I’m living what I spoke last night,” Davison said. “People are frustrated out there. People want change. I really sense that our country is really looking for people or a party or an idea to get involved with, and I’m one of those people too. I want to get involved. That’s why I ran for treasurer.”

“My speech last night — I knew it might be a little over the edge, but that’s how I felt at the time,” Davison said. “If it spurs someone to go on and say, ‘You know what, I want to go up there and talk like that too, I want to make a difference, I want to get involved in my community.’ If it affects one person in a positive way, then it was worth it.”

It affected a whole lot more than one person, Phil.

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