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    Wendy Davis Tag

    Well, this is interesting. I knew Wendy Davis was selling her new book while campaigning -- usually that's done before or after the campaign -- but we now know why. Davis' book reveals she had two abortions, something sure to shake up the race at a time when taking risks is worth it for her since otherwise she's going to lose. Via AP:
    Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis reveals in a new campaign memoir that she terminated two pregnancies for medical reasons in the 1990s, including one where the fetus had developed a severe brain abnormality. Davis writes in "Forgetting to be Afraid" that she had an abortion in 1996 after an exam revealed that the brain of the fetus had developed in complete separation on the right and left sides. She also describes ending an earlier ectopic pregnancy, in which an embryo implants outside the uterus. Davis disclosed the terminated pregnancies for the first time since her nearly 13-hour filibuster last year over a tough new Texas abortion law. Both pregnancies happened before Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, began her political career and after she was already a mother to two young girls.

    She's a football flip-flopper, professing love for the Cowboys only when convenient, via Houston Chronicle:
    The Abbott camp highlighted this KTCK-AM radio interview in which Davis said she grew up cheering for the Cowboys and will be doing so again this year: It contrasted that statement with Vogue interview in which Davis’ daughter described her as a Patriots fan and a shot of a “Go Pats!” comment on Facebook by Davis.
    Elsewhere Davis actually continues to struggle:

    U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel ruled today that portions of Texas' 2013 abortion law are unconstitutional. "HB 2," which passed during the last legislative session in spite of the efforts of now-gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (D-10), drew the ire of women's rights activists and abortion providers for its imposition of higher standards on clinics who provide abortion services. The Opinion is embedded at the bottom of this post. Via the Houston Chronicle:
    "The ambulatory-surgical-center requirement is unconstitutional because it imposes an undue burden on the right of women throughout Texas to seek a previability abortion," Yeakel ruled, blocking enforcement of the requirement scheduled to take effect Monday. Yeakel also ordered the McAllen and El Paso areas to be exempted from a separate provision of the law requiring abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. He described the law, called House Bill 2, as "a brutally effective system of abortion regulation that reduces access to abortion clinics, thereby creating a statewide burden for substantial numbers of Texas women." Already, a couple dozen clinics have closed since its enactment.
    From the opinion:

    Earlier this month, Wendy Davis fell into the gutter with a new ad accusing current Texas Attorney General and fellow gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott of being soft on rape. Politicos on both sides of the aisle were put off by the ad, and many consultants believe that she may have actually damaged her image with undecided voters. Apparently her campaign staff realized this was a likely result of an ad that was basically an exploitative non sequitur, because this week Davis began touting her plan to end the statute of limitations on criminal sexual assault cases. Via the Dallas Morning News:
    In recent weeks, she’s toured the state touting bills she pushed in the Texas Legislature that led to rape kits being tested so victims could receive justice. Last week in Dallas, she stood with Lavinia Masters and other rape survivors. According to Davis, Masters didn’t get justice because time ran out on officials seeking to close her case. “Eliminating the statute of limitations for rape will help to right that wrong by making sure that survivors like Lavinia will never again will have to forgo justice just because someone stood back and let the clock run out on their case,” Davis said. The Davis campaign pointed to several Texas rape case where the criminals got away with the crime because of the statute of limitations.
    Right now in Texas, there is a ten year statute of limitations on the prosecution of felony sexual assault cases. There is no statute of limitations on the prosecution of sexual assault on a child, or in cases where DNA is recovered but no match can be found. What Davis wants to do is put felony sexual assault on the same level as crimes like murder, manslaughter, and human trafficking, the prosecution of which is not limited by statute.

    Wendy Davis's run for governor against Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is one of the most high profile top-ticket races in the country. The political class (if not yet voters at large) is keeping a close eye on the back-and-forth battle for control of the narrative, and the latest ad from the Wendy Davis campaign has ignited a firestorm of controversy. The ad, titled "A Texas Story," tells the story of a woman from Seguin, Texas who was raped in her home by a door-to-door Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman. The woman's attempt to sue Kirby for damages went all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, which eventually held that the victim did have a right to sue the corporation for the actions of the salesman. Then-Justice Greg Abbott, however, dissented. He said that the Kirby corporation had "no duty" to the victim because the salesman in question was hired by a distributor. (Two other justices agreed with him.) The controversy surrounding this ad obviously doesn't center on the issue of which Justices booked their 1L Torts exam; instead, it centers on the issue that has defined these campaigns from the beginning--gender. Also, emotions (because of course) and the shock of seeing a political ad about a brutal rape. (Some may say the shock of seeing a political ad that exploits rape to gain points with voters, but who's counting?)

    It's been a little while since we reported on Wendy Davis, and how her campaign was not going well: I had not expected national Dems to keep pouring money into the race, but apparently the small donors around the country still are forking over small donations, perhaps on the misperception that Davis has a strong chance. The Austin American-Statesman reports that Davis is matching Greg Abbott in current fundraising , but trails badly in the polls and only has 1/3 the cash on hand:
    Gubernatorial rivals Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott have each raised just over $11 million since late February, but the Republican attorney general retains a huge $36 million to $13 million cash advantage over the Democratic senator from Fort Worth less than four months before the election. The fundraising reports, due with the Texas Ethics Commission by midnight Tuesday, gave each of the campaigns something to crow about. For Abbott, who raised $11.1 million between Feb. 23 and June 30, it is that his $36 million campaign funds constitutes, the campaign said, “the highest cash on hand amount ever reported by a Texas candidate.” They also touted the fact that, “Greg Abbott’s fund raising is coming from Texas: 95 percent of Abbott’s contributions came from within the state.” For the underdog Davis, the numbers also represented good news. Despite not budging in the polls so far — Abbott maintains a double-digit advantage — she continues to draw from a very large fundraising base, with many times as many givers as Abbott, which the Davis campaign likes to portray as the domain of fat-cat “insiders” who see Abbott as an investment more than a cause. The Fort Worth senator’s campaign said that in this last reporting period, Davis had had raised $11.2 million from more than 72,000 contributors; that 75 percent of the contributions were for less than $50, and the average contribution was 105.25.
    Davis does have some well-heeled backers, though, as The Dallas Morning News reports, Wendy Davis draws from trial lawyers, labor and Hollywood to boost her campaign:

    Wendy Davis supporters are pretty excited about her campaign for governor of Texas but when pressed to name one of her legislative accomplishments, they're surprisingly silent. Yehuda Remer of Truth Revolt sees a pattern:
    Just as Hillary Clinton supporters were unable to name a single accomplishment of the former Secretary of State, Wendy Davis’ supporters are in the same boat. A new video by Texans for Greg Abbott features an interviewer asking supporters of Davis at the 2014 Texas Democratic Convention what her greatest legislative achievements were.
    Here's the video: Liberals are already preparing themselves for Wendy Davis to lose.

    It's time for Republicans to step up their ground game. In 2010, nobody doubted that the key to victory was the enormous amount of grassroots support given to candidates like Ted Cruz, who came from behind to whollop well-funded incumbents in important statewide races. In 2012, enthusiasm waned in the wake of the Romney nomination, and may conservatives doubted how successful Republicans would be, given the apparent weakness of the top-ticket candidate. In 2014, enthusiasm for a true, election-winning ground game has all but waned. Not because of any one candidate in particular, but because of the realization that using old tactics on the same audience is no longer a winning strategy. In Texas, we're seeing a groundswell of support for groups like Battleground Texas, who are quickly filling their ranks with OFA and Obama campaign veterans--and these people know what they're doing. They're playing the long game, and they're not just focusing on devoted liberals like the people we saw supporting Wendy Davis during last year's abortion rights spectacle.

    The Wendy Davis ship has been sinking ever since her personal narrative was revealed to be, at best, inventive. The water level appears to have reached the deck, because her Campaign Manager has abandoned ship, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday:
    State Sen. Wendy Davis’ campaign for governor abruptly switched gears Wednesday as it struggles to meet the high expectations that supporters have for the Fort Worth Democrat. As nationally known strategist Karin Johanson revealed that she is leaving the campaign, Davis announced that state Rep. Chris Turner — the No. 2 member of the House Democratic leadership — will lead her campaign in the final five months until Election Day. “Chris has spent nearly 20 years in Texas politics and has fought, and won, tough races in this state,” Davis said in a statement. “His commitment to the people of Texas is unparalleled and demonstrated in his service in the state Legislature.”
    This follows on the heels of the Davis' Communications Director leaving in early May. Even more bad news today for those still hoping Davis can mount a comeback. A new poll shows Greg Abbott maintaining a double-digit lead:

    On April 21, in light of the multitude of problems, I asked Is Wendy Davis’ campaign about to fall off a cliff?
    How much longer will out of state interests keep funneling money to Davis? With control of the U.S. Senate and various House seats on the line, will liberal activists keep spending good money after bad in the Texas Governor’s race.
    Well, that didn't take long.  National Democrats are abandoning Davis' sinking ship, as reported by the L.A. Times:
    If Washington was reeling on Tuesday, the vertigo may have stemmed from something rare: blunt honesty from the mouth of an elected official. Really. It occurred as Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, head of the Democratic Governors Assn., detailed for reporters the group’s target races this year. Top tier: Maine, Pennsylvania, Florida. Second tier: Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin. Fingers crossed: South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Arizona. Notably absent was one of the supposed marquee races of 2014, Democrat Wendy Davis’ effort to derail Republican Greg Abbott in Texas. Shumlin sent an unmistakable signal that the moneyed organization had better places to place its dough. “We all understand Democrats haven’t won Texas in a long time,” he said, after a reporter noted that Texas had not been included among his targeted states.
    Davis' campaign reacted with fury, as reported by The N.Y. Daily News:
    But the lack of confidence from her own party set Davis’ team off. "The uninformed opinions of a Washington, D.C., desk jockey who's never stepped foot in Texas couldn't be less relevant to what's actually happening on the ground," Karin Johanson, Davis campaign manager, said in a surprising statement after Shumlin’s slight. Johanson later clarified that the “uninformed Washington, D.C., desk jockey” was meant to describe whoever scripted the party’s talking points on the DGA’s priority campaigns.
    Erick Erickson is gloating, Democrats Abort Their Texas Takeover:

    Wendy Davis' campaign has had its problems. The revelation that her life story of personal struggle and triumph as a single mother was embellished was a game changer. Her campaign has had a communications problem as well, playing media favorites and putting Davis on stage with a shotgun in a Dukakis-in-tank moment. The video of Davis' supporters mocking Greg Abbott's disability was cringe-worthy. Her flip-flop then flop-flip on late term abortion alienated her base, as did her endorsement of open carry. All of this led the left-wing site Wonkette to issue a satirical appeal to readers, Let’s Help The Wendy Davis Campaign Stop Sucking So Hard. In that jest there is truth. Perhaps more important, Davis has not been able to expand her appeal to pro-abortion feminists to women in general, much less men. The polling showing she's losing the female vote has to be devastating news. Now there's the whiff of scandal, as reported by The Dallas Morning News, FBI probe of NTTA includes Wendy Davis file, Travis DA’s office says:

    It's been a while since we've focused on the Texas Governor race between Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott. Davis' now-infamous fudging of her personal narrative and Gumby-like political posturing stopped whatever momentum she might have had in its tracks: Polling by major firms has shown Abbott with a double digit lead, compared to Abbott's single digit lead last summer and early fall. PPP just released a poll consistent with the other polling:
    PPP's newest Texas poll finds Republicans leading by double digits in all of the state's major races for 2014. In the Governor's race Greg Abbott's at 51% to 37% for Wendy Davis. Those numbers are largely unchanged from our last poll of the state in early November when Abbott had a 50/35 advantage. Davis had a 39/29 favorability rating right after her famous filibuster last June, but since then voters in the state have mostly moved toward having negative opinions about her and now she's at a 33/47 spread. Davis' name recognition is actually 12 points higher than Abbott's, but his reviews break down favorably with 40% having a positive view of him to 27% with a negative one.
    As Logan Churchwell points out at Breitbart.com, Davis even is losing among female voters, 49-41 percent.  PPP Texas Governor Poll April 2014 by Gender Here are some PPP internals that Davis has a net negative favorability with women, in comparison to Abbott who has net positive favorability:

    The latest poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune shows that Wendy Davis' 15 minutes of fame may be fading. After closing the gap to mid-single digits behind Greg Abbott in prior polling, Davis is back down to 11 points behind:
    In the governor’s race, Abbott would beat Davis 47 percent to 36 percent in a general election held today, with 17 percent of registered voters saying they have not made up their minds about which candidate to support, according to the poll. “We’ve been talking since the beginning of this race about whether anything would be different, and we’re not seeing anything that’s different,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “There was some talk about how Davis had done better in our last poll, and that was partially an artifact of her rise in the fall, and we’re seeing something of a reassertion of the normal pattern.” In the October survey, Davis’ announcement and sudden political celebrity cut the Republican's lead over her to 6 percentage points. Now, the distance between the two has widened a bit. “The story of the last four months is, Davis loses a couple points, Abbott gains a couple of points,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of government at UT-Austin. “He had a pretty good couple of months. She had a pretty bad couple of months, all without many people paying attention.”
    The details are even more disheartening for Davis, as her unfavorables have grown from 31 to 35%, with a whopping 28% very unfavorable.  By contrast, Abbott's unfavorables are at 25% with only 16% very unfavorable:

    Erick Erickson called Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie” because of her cluelessness about the Gosnell shop of horrors at the same time she was fighting a proposed requirement that abortion clinics meet normal surgical center standards and abortion doctors have admitting privileges at local hostpitals. When Davis stepped back from that position the other day and declared that she could support a ban on late-term abortions if there were sufficient "deference" given to the doctor-patient relationship, I suggested the proper analogy was Gumby not Barbie because "infinitely flexible positions now are the hallmark of Wendy Davis’ campaign." For that change in position on late term abortion, Davis was accused of "betrayal" by abortion advocates. Davis, however, has changed her stance again, and now is back to opposing any ban on late-term abortions, because there is no amount of "deference" that could satisfy her, after all. Via San Antonio Express, Wendy Davis says it would be 'impossible' for Legislature to devise appropriate 20-week ban on abortion:

    The reaction to Wendy Davis' statement that she could support a ban on late-term abortion if there were more deference given to patients and physicians has caused angst in a Democratic base already upset over Davis' support of Open Carry laws. Amanda Marcotte at Slate.com called it a betrayal (emphasis added):
    Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis made her name and kick-started her campaign for governor by filibustering an anti-abortion omnibus bill, standing and talking for 11 hours straight in support of abortion rights. So it comes as a surprise — and frankly, a betrayal — to learn that Davis told the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday that she could support a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, if it gave "enough deference between a woman and her doctor" to make the decision to abort after that point for medical reasons.... You may have bought her sneakers, but when it comes down to it, Wendy Davis is a politician.
    Irin Carmon at MSNBC writes, Wendy Davis falls into abortion question trap:
    This week, Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis delighted her detractors and confounded her pro-choice supporters when she appeared to support the very same 20-week ban she spent 11 hours filibustering..... It’s far too late for Davis to shy away from abortion rights, including the more politically uncomfortable parts, after confronting them head-on in her filibuster. Regardless of what she was trying to say, a political campaign isn’t a great place for complex or nuanced moral conversations. On the campaign trail, Davis would likely be better off if she stuck to the broader point she made in her filibuster: “The alleged reason for the bill is to enhance patient safety. But what [the provisions] really do is create provisions that treat women as though they are not capable of making their own medical decisions.”
    Tata Culp-Ressler at Think Progress (yes, that Think Progress) wrote, Why Wendy Davis’ Position On 20-Week Abortion Bans Doesn’t Make Any Sense:
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