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Wendy Davis’ Unraveling Narrative

- January 21, 2014

An Investigation By The Dallas Morning News And Other Outlets Has Revealed That Texas Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Wendy Davis Has Repeatedly Embellished Key Details Of Her Personal History. "Wendy Davis has made her personal story of struggle and success a centerpiece of her campaign to become the first Democrat elected governor of Texas in almost a quarter-century. While her state Senate filibuster last year captured national attention, it is her biography - a divorced teenage mother living in a trailer who earned her way to Harvard and political achievement - that her team is using to attract voters and boost fundraising. The basic elements of the narrative are true, but the full story of Davis' life is more complicated, as often happens when public figures aim to define themselves. In the shorthand version that has developed, some facts have been blurred." (Wayne Slater, "As Wendy Davis Touts Life Story In Race For Governor, Key Facts Blurred," Dallas Morning News , 1/18/14)

Discrepancies In Davis' Personal History Are Particularly Important Because Davis And Her Supporters Use Her Biography To Raise Money And Support. "While her state Senate filibuster last year captured national attention, it is her biography - a divorced teenage mother living in a trailer who earned her way to Harvard and political achievement - that her team is using to attract voters and boost fundraising." (Wayne Slater, "As Wendy Davis Touts Life Story In Race For Governor, Key Facts Blurred," Dallas Morning News , 1/18/14)

  • "'I'm A Texas Success Story,' Davis Told NBC. 'I Am The Epitome Of Hard Work And Optimism.'" (Wayne Slater, "As Wendy Davis Touts Life Story In Race For Governor, Key Facts Blurred," Dallas Morning News , 1/18/14)

Davis Claimed She Had Been Married, Had A Child And Been Divorced By 19, But Actually Divorced At 21

Davis Testified In Court (Under Oath) That She Had Gotten Divorced By The Time She Was 19. "'I had a baby. I got divorced by the time I was 19 years old,' she testified in a recent federal lawsuit over redistricting. 'After I got divorced, I lived in a mobile home park in southeast Fort Worth.'" (Wayne Slater, "As Wendy Davis Touts Life Story In Race For Governor, Key Facts Blurred," Dallas Morning News , 1/18/14)

In Reality, Davis Divorced Her First Husband At Age 21. "Under terms of the divorce, he got a boat, the mobile home and the responsibility for the mortgage on it. She got a 3-year-old Pontiac Grand Prix, a 1972 Firebird and a 1967 Chevy pickup. Davis was 21." (Wayne Slater, "As Wendy Davis Touts Life Story In Race For Governor, Key Facts Blurred," Dallas Morning News , 1/18/14)

Davis Plays Up Having Lived In A Mobile Home, But Only Stayed There A Few Months, And Not When She Said She Did

Davis Testified In Court (Under Oath) That She Moved Into A Trailer Park After Her Divorce. "'I had a baby. I got divorced by the time I was 19 years old,' she testified in a recent federal lawsuit over redistricting. 'After I got divorced, I lived in a mobile home park in southeast Fort Worth.'" (Wayne Slater, "As Wendy Davis Touts Life Story In Race For Governor, Key Facts Blurred," Dallas Morning News , 1/18/14)

Davis Lived In A Mobile Home For Only A Few Months, After Which She Moved In With Her Mother And Then Got Her Own Apartment. "Davis remained in the mobile home a few months, then moved in with her mother before getting her own apartment. She got custody of her daughter, Amber, and Underwood was ordered to pay child support." (Wayne Slater, "As Wendy Davis Touts Life Story In Race For Governor, Key Facts Blurred," Dallas Morning News , 1/18/14)

Davis Did Not Live In The Mobile Home Following Her Divorce, As She Claimed, Since The Trailer Went To Her Ex-Husband Under The Terms Of Her Divorce. "Under terms of the divorce, he got a boat, the mobile home and the responsibility for the mortgage on it. She got a 3-year-old Pontiac Grand Prix, a 1972 Firebird and a 1967 Chevy pickup. Davis was 21." (Wayne Slater, "As Wendy Davis Touts Life Story In Race For Governor, Key Facts Blurred," Dallas Morning News , 1/18/14)

Davis Claimed Her Mother Had A "Sixth-Grade Education," But Her Mother Attended High School

In 2011, Davis Claimed That Her Mother Had Only A Sixth Grade Education. DAVIS: "I was raised by a single mom. There were four children in our family, and my mother only had a sixth-grade education. And it was really a struggle for us. I went to a very large high school. We had one college counselor, and I was one of those kids who just sort of fell through the cracks." (State Sen. Wendy Davis, Generation Texas Video, 3/9/11)

In Reality, Davis' Mother Attended Muleshoe High School in West Texas Through At Least The Ninth Grade. "Meanwhile, another potential question about Davis' past comes from the Facebook page of her mother, Ginger Cornstubble, which references attending Muleshoe High School in West Texas. That contradicts a 2012 suggestion by Davis that her mother had just a sixth grade education. But in her statement, Davis said her mother 'had attended school only into the ninth grade.'" (Will Weissert, "Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis' Dramatic Story May Have Misstated Details," The Associated Press, 1/21/14)


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