Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis' daughters have written open letters to voters to "set the record straight" on their mother's past and to defend her from critics.
The Democratic gubernatorial candidate's personal story of having been a divorced teenaged mother who lived in a trailer and fought her way to Harvard Law School came under fire
after The Dallas Morning News revealed that some of the facts and details in her narrative were somewhat blurred and inconsistent.
Her daughters, Dru and Amber, deny many of the claims being made against their mother, reports the Dallas-Fort Worth CBS affiliate KTVT, which ran the full text of their letters
on its website.
Davis, who is running against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott
, has repeatedly touted her personal story while raising money and building support for her gubernatorial campaign.
The Morning News story confirmed much what she wrote in her autobiography, but challenged the timeframe and order in which she presented some of the details of her life. For example, she wrote that she was divorced at 19 but the newspaper put the age at 21.
In addition, critics have claimed that Davis abandoned her daughters to head off to law school, and that she lost custody of them to her ex-husband, a claim both daughters vehemently deny in their letters.
"Sadly I feel the need to be crystal clear on the malicious and false charge of abandonment as nothing could be further from the truth. My mom has always shared equally in the care and custody of my sister and me," younger daughter Dru Davis wrote. "I can tell you that my mom was a remarkable mother and continues to be so to this day . . . My sister and I were always her first priority. She was there when I needed her and even when I thought I didn’t."
Her older sister, Amber, agreed, writing, "I have recently heard the phrase “abandoned” quite often in the past week," she wrote in her letter. "That our mother 'left us to be raised by our father' while she went on to pursue her education . . . every decision our parents made was with our best interests at heart."
"We lived with her the first semester, but I had severe asthma and the weather there wasn’t good for me," Dru Davis, explained saying her parents made the decision together that the daughters should remain in Texas while their mother was away at Harvard. "But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t there for us."
Daughter Amber also wrote that she remembers living in a trailer with her mother and praised her parents' marriage.
"My parents had an amazing marriage for many years," said daughter Amber. "They challenged each other and pushed each other to want more from life."
Further, said the elder daughter, now 31 years old, there was no custody issue when her parents divorced.
"I’m sure many people can agree that divorce is certainly not an easy thing to experience," she wrote. "At that time, I was a young adult in college and Dru was in high school and to be clear, no one “lost or gave up custody” of either one of us. But no matter how difficult it was, both of our parents were there for us."
Davis has acknowledged to the Morning News that her "language should be tighter" and she should be "more focused on detail" when she talks about her life story in the campaign.
The Abbott campaign, however, has said in a statement the criticism of Davis is appropriate because she "systematically, intentionally and repeatedly deceived Texans for years about her background, yet she expects voters to indulge her fanciful narrative.”
Davis’ plans to address the issue again next Tuesday at the Travis County Democratic Party JBR Dinner in Austin.
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