Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor of Texas, has admitted that a number of key details in her public personal narrative do not match up with the reality of the facts.
The Texas state senator who rose to national fame
for her successful 13-hour filibuster against new abortion restrictions, acknowledged to The Dallas Morning News
that there are some chronological errors and incomplete details in what she and her advisers have said about her life.
"My language should be tighter," she told the paper. "I'm learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail."
Davis, who is running against
Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott for the governorship, has repeatedly touted a personal story of having been a divorced teenage mother who lived in a trailer but ultimately fought her way to Harvard Law School.
She has pointed to her narrative as a testament to hard work and the American Dream, and her campaign has heavily relied on it to build support and boost fundraising.
It has now emerged that she was divorced at the age of 21, despite her claims during a recent hearing under oath that she was 19. Also, she lived only briefly in the family mobile home after she separated from her first husband before moving into an apartment with her daughter.
Meanwhile, her website says, "With the help of academic scholarships and student loans, Wendy not only became the first person in her family to earn a bachelor's degree but graduated first in her class and was accepted to Harvard Law School."
The paper points out that she has neglected to disclose that her second husband paid for the second two years of her undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University, as well as the full tuition for law school, and that she divorced him the day after the last payment was made.
It has also emerged that her ex-husband accused her in initial court filings of adultery and was awarded custody of their two daughters, and also that she first ran for city council in Fort Worth as a Republican.
Davis nonetheless defended the accuracy of her overall account as a young single mother who escaped poverty, earned an education and built a successful legal and political career through hard work and determination, according to The Morning News.
"Most people would identify with the fact that we tend to be defined by the struggles we came through than by the successes. And certainly for me that's true," she told the paper. "When I think about who I am and how it's reflected in the things I worked on, it comes from that place."
A former colleague and political supporter of Davis who declined to be named told The Morning News, "Wendy is tremendously ambitious. She's going to find a way, and she's going to figure out a way to spin herself in a way that grabs at the heart strings. A lot of it isn't true about her, but that's just us who knew her. But she'd be a good governor."
Her ex-husband, Jeff Davis, said, "She got a break. Good things happen, opportunities open up. You take them; you get lucky. That's a better narrative than what they're trying to paint."
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