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Exclusive: Moderate Republican Tom Davis Next Up for MPAA Job

The ex-Congressman from North Virginia is currently front-runner to be chairman of the Motion Picture Association, a job the moguls are having a tough time filling

Republican Tom Davis is currently the front-runner candidate to become chairman of the Motion Picture Association, TheWrap has learned.

Thomas Milburn Davis III, 61, is a former representative to the House of Representatives for north Virginia. He is a moderate who resigned from Congress in 2008.

He is considered an expert on issues regarding intellectual property, a focal point of concern for the member Hollywood studios who make up the MPAA.

Two individuals close to the situation confirmed that Davis has met most of the heads of the six major movie companies in the MPAA, which include the Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, Universal and 20th Century Fox.

But he is still not close to landing the job. One individual knowledgeable about the moguls’ views said that, “There are still question marks” about Davis.

The MPAA has had a difficult time finding the right person to replace Dan Glickman, who stepped down in January after five years running the association. Bob Pisano has been acting chairman.

In May, TheWrap broke the news that former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey had been tapped to become chairman of the movie industry’s powerful lobby.

Read also: EXCLUSIVE: Bob Kerrey Tapped to Head MPAA

But those negotiations broke down in the summer over timetable and an inability to agree on terms. Most concluded that Kerrey, the president of the New School in New York, simply did not want the job badly enough.

Read also: Bob Kerrey on MPAA: "We Couldn't Reach Agreement"

Other candidates currently under consideration, according to knowledgeable insiders, include: former Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart, New Mexico Governor and former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and former U.S. Senator from Connecticut Chris Dodd. Dodd is not considered a front-runner; most believe he does not want the job.

For most, though, the chief lobbyist for Hollywood is a plum position, held by the iconic Jack Valenti for decades. The position is not only one of the sexiest lobbyist jobs in Washington, D.C., but pays more than $1.3 million a year for the privilege of wrangling moguls and getting in front of the key committee chairmen in Congress.

The moguls will meet on Friday in Los Angeles for a regularly scheduled board meeting, but they are not expected to discuss the shortlist of candidates for the chairmanship since Pisano will lead the meeting.

A spokesman for the MPAA had no comment for this story.