Voters, apparently, disagreed.
They elected Davis with 54.5 percent of the vote, compared to 44.9 percent for three-term incumbent Joe Bischofberger.
"I don't know how in the hell he got so many votes," Bischofberger said. "I had my mailers. I had my slate cards. It's just really odd."
Davis didn't bother to monitor election returns until a reporter called about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and alerted him that he was ahead.
"I was in total disbelief," Davis said.
The former Fremont school board member aborted his campaign last month after struggling to answer questions during a candidate forum. But the primary reason he dropped out of the race was to focus on finding employment. His job, implementing 2002's Regional Transportation Measure B in Santa Clara County, recently was eliminated.
Bischofberger said his opponent should cede him the seat, but Davis, who is still looking for full-time work, said he will honor the will of the voters.
"I didn't think I was well-versed enough to debate Mr. Bischofberger, but I have spent the last 20 years working in transit," he said. "I certainly think I can educate myself."
Davis plans to meet with AC Transit management to brush up on issues facing the agency.
Bischofberger, who won nearly every major endorsement, was at a loss to explain his defeat.
"I never stopped campaigning," he said. "I was confident I did a good job."
Davis, who never sent out campaign mailers, said he wrote a better ballot statement, and that he might have seemed to be the more impressive candidate to people thumbing through the voter guide.
"I definitely see this as a gift," he said. "I don't know what it says about our electoral system."
Staff writer Matthew Artz covers Union City. He can be reached at (510) 353-7003 or firstname.lastname@example.org.