Tags: | wendy davis | texas | governor | liberal | campaign

Report: Wendy Davis Was Told Liberal Campaign Would Be Crushed

By    |   Wednesday, 12 Nov 2014 10:51 PM

Texas Democrat Wendy Davis' gubernatorial campaign was reportedly warned last January that the candidate – who gained national attention with a pro-abortion filibuster – was headed for a crushing defeat unless she moved to the center and fixed her staff.

"The campaign is in disarray and is in danger of being embarrassed," consultants Peter Cari and Maura Dougherty wrote in a Jan. 6 memorandum, The Texas Tribune reports.

"The level of dysfunction was understandable in July and August, when we had no infrastructure in place — but it doesn’t seem to be getting better."

Addressed to then-campaign manager Karin Johanson, the memo warned the Davis campaign had "lurched to the left," was failing to communicate a positive message and offered virtually nothing to swing voters she'd need to win.

"There is not a model where a candidate who appears this liberal and culturally out of touch gets elected statewide anywhere in the south — much less in Texas — without some inoculation," the consultants said.

Dougherty and Cari, who founded the firm Prism Communications, had helped guide Davis to two tough Senate wins in a Republican-leaning North Texas district, and were on board in her gubernatorial drive, the newspaper reports.

Dougherty told the Tribune the memo was written in a last-ditch effort to save the sinking campaign, but that she often didn't know about major developments unless she read about them in the news.

"Thank God for Google alerts, because I wouldn’t know what was going on this campaign without them," she told the paper.

The Prism consultants concluded the campaign was either broken – or that it decided to portray Davis not as a Texas moderate but as a "national Democrat, appealing to liberal donors in the mistaken belief that there is a hidden liberal base in Texas that will turn out to vote if they have a liberal candidate to support."

"Either scenario means that real changes need to be made, and quickly," the consultants wrote.

Changes were made shortly afterward, the newspaper noted – the firm was fired.

Davis attended celebrity-laden fundraisers in Hollywood and New York — about 27 percent of her fundraising in the first quarter came from outside of Texas, the Washington Examiner reports.

In a follow-up letter Feb. 11, the consultants outlined more dysfunction and mismanagement, predicting her margin of defeat within a single percentage point, the Tribune reports.

"Running Wendy Davis as a generic national Democrat is not only the quickest path to 38 percent, it’s also a huge disservice to Wendy, her record and the brand she has built,” they wrote.

Davis got 38.9 percent of the vote, compared with the 59.3 percent of voters who cast ballots for governor-elect Greg Abbott.

"It’s possible to lose and still look good,” Dougherty told the Tribune. "Our worry in January was it was setting Wendy up for embarrassment throughout the course of the campaign. I think the way the campaign played out was far, far worse than it should have been."

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Texas Democrat Wendy Davis' gubernatorial campaign was reportedly warned last January that the candidate – who gained national attention with a pro-abortion filibuster – was headed for a crushing defeat unless she moved to the center and fixed her staff.
wendy davis, texas, governor, liberal, campaign
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2014-51-12
Wednesday, 12 Nov 2014 10:51 PM
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