• Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, speaks to supporters at her campaign headquarters Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. (LM Otero/AP)

    Wendy Davis Will Turn Texas Purple

    A new poll shows Wendy Davis within single digits of her Republican opponent—one more sign that Texas’s voters are no longer reliably red.

    Let’s start by stating the obvious: It is hard for a Democrat to win statewide office in Texas today.  Recently, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from San Antonio, pointed out that Texas has gone longer than any other state in the union without electing a Democrat to high office.  Which makes Wendy Davis’ ascent in the Texas governor’s race all the more impressive.

    This week, a new poll showed Sen. Davis within just seven points of her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott.  The poll shows that 42 percent of Texas voters back Davis, compared to 49 percent for Abbott.  Now, put in the context of the 2002 Texas gubernatorial election—in which Republican Rick Perry won by almost 18 points over his leading Democratic rival—and the seven percent gap between Davis and Abbott is impressive.  In the context of previous polls that showed Abbott widening his lead over Davis, this new poll is even more stunning.  Wendy Davis has a serious shot at becoming the next governor of Texas. 

    Permalink
  • LM Otero/AP, LM Otero

    America’s Conscience on Abortion

    The Texas gubernatorial candidate didn’t flip-flop, she just voiced what a large percentage of Americans already think of this hot button issue.

    Wendy Davis, Texas gubernatorial candidate, and feminist icon in the making, recently came under fire for allegedly committing the cardinal campaign sin of flip-flopping. The alleged flip-flop in question is not on just any old issue either, but abortion, the issue that put Davis on the national political map.

    Headlines on sites like Gawker, which previously cheered Davis’s exploits, trumpeted the perceived travesty, “Wendy Davis Is Pretty Much Fine With the Abortion Ban She Filibustered.” Meanwhile, Fox News blared, “Wendy Davis backs limited late-term abortion ban, despite historic filibuster.”

    Permalink
  • Getty

    GOP’s Working Mom Schizo

    Republicans are slamming Wendy Davis for abandoning her kids to go to law school, even as they praise Cathy McMorris Rodgers for being a working mom in Congress.

    The Republican Party has mom schizophrenia. It seems that some members and supporters of the GOP can’t seem to make up their minds about whether being an ambitious, successful working woman with children in politics is something to be vilified or lionized. That’s going to be a problem in a few months when the 2014 mid-term elections roll around. It’s no secret that the Republicans know they have a woman problem. They announced it themselves with the creation of a program to “train” their members on how to engage—and not to engage—with women. Yet, they are quite content to do some serious mom trashing when it suits them.

    For months, Texas State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has had her mothering credentials attacked for supposedly abandoning her children while she earned her law degree to be able to better provide for her family. The right-wing echo chamber on Twitter has painted Davis as selfish for pursuing a career rather than staying home to raise her children and putting her own ambition ahead of her children’s needs, the clear implication being that such a person would never be fit for high political office.

    Permalink
  • Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT, via Getty

    Wendy’s Abortion Compromise

    The Texas state senator suggested she might support a 20-week abortion ban if it deferred to women and their doctors—and her position shouldn’t surprise us.

    Earlier this week, Texas State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis made some waves by suggesting she might support a 20-week abortion ban in the state as long as it pays strong deference to women and their doctors. Davis told The Dallas Morning News editorial board: that less than one-half of one percent of Texas abortions occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Most of those were in cases where fetal abnormalities were evident or there were grave risks to the health of the woman. “I would line up with most people in Texas who would prefer that that’s not something that happens outside of those two arenas,” Davis said.

    This would seem a bit of a shift for Davis, who of course rose to national prominence with her 13-hour filibuster to block a bill in the Texas legislature that included a 20-week ban. Davis now says that her primary objection to that bill, which ultimately became law, was not the 20-week provision but the onerous restrictions on abortion providers and clinics. Her statements on the matter came as a surprise to those in the state and nationwide who think of Wendy Davis as a champion of reproductive freedom.

    Permalink
  • Eric Gay/AP; Joyce Marshall/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT, via Getty

    Flashback

    When Wendy Davis Was a Republican

    The Democratic hopeful for Texas governor proved she had chops as a local Republican pol. The GOP would do well to remember when she was one of theirs.

    So what do we know about Wendy Davis, Texas state senator turned gubernatorial candidate and Democratic “It” Girl? With her up-from-nothing backstory and Harvard Law degree, the woman is clearly smart, savvy, ambitious, and determined. (There’s no question that she grasps the value of a moving personal narrative.) In her five years in Austin, she has amassed one of the senate’s most liberal voting records. She does not shy from a fight, and she has a flair for political theater to make Ted Cruz envious. (Her filibuster of anti-abortion legislation was, it bears recalling, not her first such rodeo.) People have gone ga-ga over the legislator’s sporty pink kicks.

    Unsurprisingly, the hard-charging, mediagenic Davis has become a hero to women’s group (Emily’s List, nursing a major crush, cheers her as “an inspiring national heroine.”) Anxious Republicans, meanwhile, are sharpening their claws. One particularly troglodytic right-winger—laboring to cement conservatives’ image as sexist jackasses—refers to Davis as “Abortion Barbie.” Get it? She supports women’s reproductive rights and is a comely blonde. What more do voters need to know?

    Permalink
  • Erich Schlegel/Getty

    IT’S TIME

    Wendy Running for Texas Guv

    After abortion filibuster shot her to stardom.

    To paraphrase the words of one of the people who introduced her, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis is changing out of her pink sneakers and into combat boots. Davis announced her bid for governor at an event in the Fort Worth suburb of Haltom City. She gave an 11-hour filibuster of SB-5 in July, going against a proposal to ban abortions after 20 weeks, which sparked nationwide debate. In her gubernatorial announcement, she touched upon education and her single-mom background and promised a “better tomorrow for everyone.” Some believe that Davis can mobilize Democrats in Texas, a traditionally red state. Pro-life groups are already gearing up attack ads against Davis, set to start airing this weekend. A poll puts Davis behind her likely Republican challenger, 29 percent to 21 percent.

    Permalink
  • David Goldman/AP

    TEXAS TWO-STEP

    Anita Perry: Abortion ‘Woman’s Right’

    First lady of Texas also says “two sides to every nickel.”

    So this must make for some interesting conversations around the Texas governor’s mansion. Anita Perry, the wife of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said Saturday that abortion “could be a woman’s right, just like it’s a man’s right if he wants to have some kind of procedure.” Further, Perry said, while she doesn’t personally agree with abortion, “the older I get, the more I see there are two sides to every nickel.” Perry’s comments come as abortion lands front and center in the 2014 governor’s race: likely to enter the race next week is Wendy Davis, a state senator who made national headlines earlier this year when she filibustered an bill supported by Rick Perry that would close nearly all the abortion clinics in the state.

    Read it at Texas Tribune
  • Eric Gay/AP

    September Issue

    Wendy Davis Poses in Vogue

    Also plans run for Texas governor.

    Texas senator Wendy Davis, of abortion filibuster fame, will appear in Vogue’s famous September issue, posing in the rotunda of her state’s Capitol building. The spread accompanies an in-depth profile of Davis that covers her trajectory from single motherhood to Harvard Law school to becoming a leader in Texas Democratic politics. Meanwhile, Davis is said to be testing the waters for a gubernatorial run in Texas, where she is working to calibrate an appropriate message. Davis shot to liberal stardom after her 13-hour filibuster of a controversial abortion bill, but advisers fear too much outside attention might be counterproductive in a race for governor in one of the country’s most conservative states.

    Read it at Politico
  • Texas State Sen. Wendy David (D) speaks at the National Press Club August 5. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    WEIGHING OPTIONS

    Wendy Davis, Governor?

    Lawyer: Sources say Texas senator will start campaign.

    A top Texas lawyer says that State Sen. Wendy Davis is setting up a gubernatorial bid. “Credible sources tell me that Sen. Wendy Davis will run for Governor in 2014 and not seek reelection to Texas Senate District 10,” Locke Lord’s public law chair Robert Miller wrote on the firm’s blog. Miller says it would be a tough battle for Davis, as the last Democratic governor was Ann Richards back in 1990. Davis skyrocketed to national attention after filibustering Texas's late-term abortion bill. Publicly, Davis is still vague about her decision. “In looking at a statewide race, I want to make sure I’m not asking volunteers and donors to engage in an effort that would be futile,” Davis said in an interview posted today on The Texas Tribune. “People are hungry to see someone step up and stand up for the values that we know are much more reflective of everyday Texans ... I know there’s a great deal of anxiousness that that voice will be there in an election, where that conversation can be had at a much more profound way at the state level than it might be in a Senate district level.”

    Permalink
  • AP, Getty, US Congress

    Fearless Women

    Eight Tough Democrats

    From Wendy Davis to Christine Quinn, Patricia Murphy reports on the rising guard of Democratic women.

    They're fierce, they're fearless, and they're shaking up races and state houses across the country. Meet the new breed of Democratic women who make no apologies for themselves, their beliefs, or their party.

    Wendy Davis

    Permalink
  • Eric Gay

    SAY AGAIN?

    Quotes Roundup: Huggers and Haters

    This week, everyone seemed to be on the defensive.

    Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis expressed some serious wrath toward Gov. Rick Perry, who signed the Texas abortion restrictions on Thursday. The bill, which goes into effect in October, bans abortions after 20 weeks, based on the disputed claim that fetuses can feel pain, and requires abortions to be done at surgical centers. Only five abortion clinics meet the new requirements. In a released statement, Davis said, “Governor Perry and other state leaders have now taken sides and chosen narrow partisan special interests over mothers, daughters, sisters and every Texan who puts the health of their family, the well-being of their neighbors, and the future of Texas ahead of politics and personal ambitions.”

    In San Diego, which Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy taught us is the classiest of all cities, Mayor Bob Filner was accused of sexual harassment. Filner vehemently denied the claims to San Diego television station KUSI. He refused to resign from office despite calls for him to step down. One woman, a volunteer for Filner’s campaign, alleges that he jammed “his tongue down her throat” and later put “his hand on the inside of her bra.” Even the mayor’s ex-fiancée accuses him of sending women sexually explicit text messages. The mayor has since apologized, but will still headline an event for sexual-assault victims.

    Permalink
  • Shoppers have flocked to the Amazon website for Davis’ bright pink Mizuno “Wave Rider” sneakers. (Eric Gay/AP)

    It’s Got to Be the Shoes

    Wendy Davis’s Iconic Shoes

    Unless what women wear is relevant to the news at hand, reporting on it creates a detrimental double standard for female politicians, writes Sally Kohn.

    There’s a difference between liking Wendy Davis’s shoes and liking Wendy Davis because of her shoes. What is that difference? I know, let’s call it sexism.

    When The Washington Post published a story about White House Chief Counsel Kathy Ruemmler’s shoes, Irin Carmon rightfully snapped back, “If Ruemmler didn’t want The Washington Post to talk about her shoes while she’s in the midst of White House ‘scandals,’ why did she wear them?” In the photo of Ruemmler featured in the Post, the other seven people in the Oval Office are all men. Notably, many seem to be wearing ties that border on neon colored. Where is the expose on that?

    Permalink
  • Pro-choice supporters demonstrate before the start of a special session of the Legislature in Austin, Texas on July 1, 2013. (Mike Stone/Reuters)

    All Rhetoric

    Our Stupid Abortion Debate

    Americans have long held a consensus on the issue, writes Nick Gillespie—but you wouldn’t know that from the absolutist public debate about the issue.

    When God shuts one window in the culture war, he opens another.

    If last week’s Supreme Court rulings cooled some of the passions about same-sex marriage by returning the issue at least temporarily to the states, then abortion has moved to the front burner after Democratic Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis’s 11-hour filibuster of a Republican bill that would have banned almost all abortions in the Lone Star State after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

    Permalink