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Davis won election to the House in 1994, the year of the Republican Contract with America. Davis defeated one-term incumbent Leslie Byrne. The Contract with America called for citizen-legislators who would retire after 12 years, instead of career politicians. Davis signed the Contract and voted in favor of the Citizens Legislature Act; however, the bill did not achieve support from the 2/3 majority needed for the amendment to pass. Although the 11th was considered a swing district, Davis was reelected five more times without substantive opposition in part due to his popularity in Fairfax County. He even ran unopposed in 1998 and 2002.

Davis was chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 1998 to 2002. According to The Federal Paper, he then sought the chairmanship of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee. Davis had less seniority than the other contenders for this chairmanship, but some Republicans wanted to reward him for his work as NRCC chairman, including his supervision of a $160 million fundraising effort. Davis's deputy on the NRCC, Tom Reynolds of New York, became the next NRCC chairman.