The Democratic Party's top candidate for governor has to re-write her political story. In a published report- state Senator Wendy Davis has admitted she left out some key details in the rags to riches narrative touted by her Gubernatorial campaign.
The Dallas Morning News story hit the stands over the weekend. By Monday morning- after making a speech in San Antonio - Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis was clearly treating the published report as old news. KSAT reporter Cory Smith Reporter tried to ask Davis for a comment about the news report and how she was doing since its release. A campaign aid step in to pulled Davis away, but Davis turned back and gave a brief answer to Smith's question.
"I'm doing great. I'm happy to be here today," said Davis.
When Wendy Davis announced she was running for governor- her personal life story was a big focus of the speech.
"32 years ago I started my journey in this room my own journey but today we start a new journey," said Davis from a stage built in her old High School Gym
Monday, Davis' bio- on her campaign web-site was still titled- "A Texas Story." The narrative promotes Davis as a single teenaged mom - who worked her way through college and Harvard Law School with the help of scholarships, financial aid and grants. It's a claim campaign managers are sticking with - although they now admit some parts need to be clarified.
"If you were looking for a reason to be opposed to Wendy Davis this will give you that," said political analyst Chuck McDonald.
Getting ahead of the story is critical according to McDonald.
"The time for this story to come out, or the change in the story to come out, is now, its January the election is in November and it's nearly a full year away," said McDonald.
Key points in question include;
Was Davis really a single teenaged mother?
Her campaign says yes. She was 19 when she and her daughter were living together while she waited for her divorce to be finalized. The final decree came when Davis was 21.
Davis and her daughter lived is a mobile home.
The location was not A long term living situation but temporary. Davis admits she and her daughter only lived a few months in a mobile home before moving into an apartment.
Who paid for her education?
Her second husband claims he paid for the bulk of her education ( the last two years at TCU and for her Harvard Law degree ) using his retirement fund and taking out a loan. He also claims Davis left him after he made the last tuition payment. Campaign spokesperson Rebecca Acuna claims Davis also help pay for her education.
Marriage problems and Child Custody.
Davis and her second husband divorced after he accused her of committing adultery. The report of that claim is not being disputed although it was not part of the final divorce decree, according to campaign Spokesperson Rebecca Acuna. Custody of their youngest daughter was given to Davis's ex-husband, but Acuna says before the court action Davis' daughters spent time with her while in Boston and later after she returned to Texas.
In the newspaper report Davis admitted her "language should be tighter," and she needs to be "more focused on the detail."
On the radio - the new Davis story was a hot topic during the morning rush hour. With comments like, "Stretch the truth? She lied ..." and "credibility gone."
On the streets- people who spoke to FOX7 offered different opinions about trusting politicians who seem to embellish the truth.
"I'd hate to see anybody lie to win a campaign, you got to shoot from the truth, you got to tell people the truth if you run for office let them know what your life was really like," said David Dauber from Leander.
Some like Courtney Limuel, say this kind of situation can make one rethink their support of a candidate.
"I'd say yes just because everything leading up to the voting process I'd want to know all the facts and how the person would view everything," said Limuel.
Others like Chris Yardy say a problem over a personal issue would not be the only reason to stop supporting a candidate.
"It's a sticky situation, I feel like a lot of politicians do that, embellish as long as they stick firm on the issues important to me I don't think it would change."
The voting base Davis gained during her abortion law filibuster is expected to stay with her. But the issue could cost her votes from independents and cross-over moderates she will need come November.
Both the Davis and Abbott campaigns issued statements Monday. Greg Abbott campaign spokesman, Matt Hirsch wrote;
"Sen. Wendy Davis systematically, intentionally and repeatedly deceived Texans for years about her background, yet she expects voters to indulge her fanciful narrative. Not only does Sen. Davis hide her donors and contributions, but she's attempting to hide her past. It's disappointing that a candidate would so cavalierly deceive voters about the most basic aspects of their life, while providing inaccurate testimony in the process. If voters can't trust what Sen. Davis says, how can they trust her to lead? Texans deserve candidates who are open and honest with the truth."
Rebecca Acuna, Spokesperson for Wendy Davis issued this statement from the candidate;
"We're not surprised by Greg Abbott's campaign attacks on the personal story of my life as a single mother who worked hard to get ahead. But they won't work, because my story is the story of millions of Texas women who know the strength it takes when you're young, alone and a mother.
I've always been open about my life not because my story is unique, but because it isn't.
"The truth is that at age 19, I was a teenage mother living alone with my daughter in a trailer and struggling to keep us afloat on my way to a divorce. And I knew then that I was going to have to work my way up and out of that life if I was going to give my daughter a better life and a better future and that's what I've done. I am proud of where I came from and I am proud of what I've been able to achieve through hard work and perseverance. And I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn't walked a day in my shoes."
According to Rebecca Acuna, the campaign believes the story idea that resulted in the Dallas Morning News article was generated by the Abbott campaign. Acuna claims several reporters have recently asked to speak to Davis about her background story and she denies the campaign feed the story to a specific reporter in order to gain a favorable result.