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Wendy Davis (politician)

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Wendy Davis (politician)

Wendy Davis
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 10th district
In office
January 9, 2009 – January 2015
Preceded by Kim Brimer
Succeeded by Konni Burton
Member of the Fort Worth City Council
from the 9th district
In office
May 1, 1999 – January 8, 2008
Preceded by Cathy Hirt
Succeeded by Joel Burns
Personal details
Born Wendy Jean Russell[1]
(1963-05-16) May 16, 1963
West Warwick, Rhode Island
Political party Republican (Before 2006)
Democratic (2006–present)
Spouse(s) Frank Underwood (1981-1984)
Jeff Davis (1987–2005)
Domestic partner Will Wynn
Children Amber
Alma mater Tarrant County College
Texas Christian University
Harvard Law School
Religion Episcopalian[2]
Website Campaign website

Wendy Russell Davis[3] (born Wendy Jean Russell;[1] May 16, 1963) is an American lawyer and Democratic politician from Fort Worth, Texas. Since 2009, Davis has represented District 10 in the Texas Senate; she vacates the position in January 2015. She previously served on the Fort Worth City Council.

On June 25, 2013, Davis held an eleven-hour-long filibuster to block Senate Bill 5, a measure which included more restrictive abortion regulations for Texas. The filibuster played a major role in Senate Democrats' success in delaying passage of the bill beyond the midnight deadline for the end of the legislative session, though it ultimately passed in a second session. The filibuster brought Davis national attention, leading to speculation about a run for governor.[4] She subsequently ran for governor in 2014 but lost to Greg Abbott, 59-38 percent.


  • Early life, education, and family 1
  • Law career 2
  • Political career 3
    • City Council 3.1
      • Republican politics 3.1.1
    • State Senate 3.2
      • 2013 filibuster 3.2.1
    • Campaign for Governor of Texas 3.3
  • Political positions 4
    • Abortion 4.1
    • Gun rights 4.2
    • LGBT rights 4.3
    • Marijuana 4.4
  • Electoral history 5
    • City council elections 5.1
      • 1999 5.1.1
      • 2003 5.1.2
      • 2007 5.1.3
    • State senate elections 5.2
      • 2008 5.2.1
      • 2012 5.2.2
      • 2014 5.2.3
  • Published works 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life, education, and family

Wendy Davis was born Wendy Jean Russell[1] in West Warwick, Rhode Island,[5] the daughter of Virginia "Ginger" (née Stovall)[6] and Jerry Russell.[7] Her family moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 1973, when she was 11 years old.[7][8] At the time, Jerry worked at National Cash Register.[9] When Wendy was 13, her parents divorced.[10] Her father quit his job to pursue work in community theater, leading his child support payments to dry up.[9] Her mother, who had a ninth grade education,[11] supported her four children by working menial jobs,[10] including one at a Braum's ice cream shop.[12]

At 14 years of age, Wendy was selling newspaper subscriptions for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and working at an Orange Julius stand.[12] When she was 17 and still in high school, she moved in with her boyfriend, construction worker Frank Underwood.[13] In 1981, she graduated from Richland High School as a member of the National Honor Society.[9] She married Underwood on January 24, 1982, and gave birth to her first daughter, Amber, later that year.[13][14] When Wendy was 19, she and Underwood separated, and she continued to live in their mobile home with Amber. After several months, she moved in with her mother, and then eventually began living in her own apartment.[13][14] Wendy filed for divorce from Underwood in December 1983,[14] and it became official on May 22, 1984, when she was 21. She was given custody of Amber, with Underwood paying child support.[13]

Davis attended University of Texas at Arlington for one semester, but had to stop attending for financial reasons.[10] Meanwhile, her father had opened the European Sandwich Shop and Stage Door Deli in downtown Fort Worth, with his Stage West Theatre next door.[15] While waiting tables at Stage West in 1983, she was introduced by her father to lawyer and former city councilman Jeffry R. Davis, who would become her second husband.[8][10][13]

She also worked as a receptionist at a doctor's office, where a nurse gave her a brochure for Tarrant County College.[16] She enrolled in their two-year paralegal program, attending from 1984 to 1986.[7] She began dating Jeff Davis during this time. After Tarrant College, she enrolled at Texas Christian University (TCU) in 1986 on an academic scholarship and a Pell Grant. Wendy and Jeff married on May 30, 1987 after dating for "two or three years," and they settled in a historic home in the Mistletoe Heights neighborhood of Fort Worth.[13] After the marriage, Jeff began to make significant financial contributions to Wendy's education.[10][11][14] He would ultimately adopt her daughter, Amber.[10][13] A second daughter, Dru, was born in September 1988. Davis underwent abortions for two later pregnancies, one due to an ectopic tubal pregnancy (whom she named "Lucas") and another due to the fetus suffering from Dandy-Walker syndrome (whom she named "Tate Elise").[17][18]

In May 1990, Davis graduated from TCU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.[9][19] That fall, she moved with her daughters to Lexington, Massachusetts, to attend Harvard Law School. This living situation proved untenable, and after four months her daughters returned to Texas to live with Jeff. Wendy's mother helped to care for them, and Wendy flew back regularly to visit her family for the remainder of her time at Harvard.[10] While at Harvard, she volunteered at a legal clinic for the poor, where she helped AIDS patients write living wills and surviving partners with their legal rights.[8] In May 1993, she earned her law degree cum laude,[20][21] and she was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in November 1993.[22]

In November 2003, Jeff and Wendy separated.[10] When the divorce settlement was finalized in 2005, the former couple shared "joint conservatorship" over Dru, who primarily lived with her father in the family home.[23] In the divorce settlement, Jeff was given the "right to designate the primary residence" of Dru, and Wendy agreed to pay $1,200 a month in child support.[10][23] Both parents retained the right to decisions about Dru's other needs; Amber was a young adult in college at that time.[23]

Law career

After graduating from law school, Davis served a federal clerkship from 1993 to 1994 under Judge Jerry Buchmeyer, a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas.[24][25] In 1994, she joined the Fort Worth office of Haynes & Boone and began practicing specialized litigation.[10] She quit Haynes & Boone in "about two years".[10] In 1999, her husband, Jeff Davis started Safeco Title Co. of Fort Worth, Texas.[13][20] and she became part owner.[13][20] The title company was sold to Republic Title as part of their divorce decree.[13][20] She continued to work at the Fort Worth branch of Republic Title until 2009.[20] Davis joined Cantey Hanger in an Of Counsel role in March 2010.[20] Davis' of counsel relationship with Cantey Hanger ended on December 31, 2013.[26] She partnered with Brian Newby to open Newby Davis, PLLC in March 2010.[20] Her current practice includes federal and local governmental affairs, litigation, economic development, contract compliance and real estate matters.[24]

During her time working for the title company Safeco, Wendy was paid an annual salary of $40,000 by her husband Jeff Davis.[10] Jeff Davis told Robert Draper of The New York Times that he paid her the salary for her work for the city of Fort Worth as a council member, a job that paid little.[10]

Political career

City Council

Davis first ran for the Fort Worth City Council in 1996, but was defeated by ninety votes.[9][10] After her defeat, Davis sued the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, American Broadcasting Company, and the Disney Company, which at the time owned the Star-Telegram and ABC.[9] The Texas Tribune stated that she alleged "that biased coverage led to her defeat and caused injury to her physical and mental health".[9] Her claims were rejected by the Texas courts, based upon the Star-Telegram's First Amendment free speech grounds.[9][27]

Davis was first elected to the city council in 1999. During her nine-year tenure there, Davis focused on transportation, economic development, and neighborhood issues. She also worked on economic development projects, such as the Montgomery Plaza renovation, the Tower, Pier One and Radio Shack campuses.[24]

Republican politics

While serving on the Fort Worth City Council, Davis voted in Republican primaries. Davis has said that she was then a Republican because she liked Republican [30]

State Senate

As a Texas State Senator

Davis represents Texas Senate, District 10, which includes portions of Tarrant County, Texas. In 2008, she defeated incumbent Republican Senator Kim Brimer for the seat, despite a legal challenge against her candidacy by the state Republican Party.[10][31] Davis was re-elected in 2012, defeating a challenge from Mark M. Shelton, a Fort Worth pediatrician and Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, who is seeking the District 10 seat again in 2014.[32] Davis is the Vice-Chair on the Senate Select Committee on Open Government. She is also a Member of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, the Senate Committee on Transportation, and the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee. She previously served on the Senate Committee for Education and as Vice-Chair on the Senate Committee on International Relations and Trade.[33]

On May 29, 2011, Davis launched a filibuster of a budget bill that cut $4 billion from public education in the state, resulting in a special session called by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.[34]

Davis has been honored with awards and recognitions during her first term in the Texas Legislature, including the "Bold Woman Award" from Girls, Inc., "Freshman of the Year" from AARP, "Champion for Children Award" from the Equity Center, and "Texas Women's Health Champion Award" from the Texas Association of OB-GYNs. In 2009, Texas Monthly named her "Rookie of the Year".[35] She was also chosen by the readers of Fort Worth Weekly as the "Best Servant of the People".[21] In January 2012, Davis was listed among "12 State Legislators to Watch in 2012" by Governing Magazine[36] and was mentioned as a possible candidate for statewide races.[37]

Early in the 83rd Session, senators drew for terms in a post-redistricting, once-a-decade process. Davis drew a two-year term and will be up for re-election in November 2014.[38] In March 2013, she announced her intention to run for re-election to the Senate.[39] On October 3, 2013, she changed her mind and announced a candidacy for Texas Governor instead of re-election to the State Senate.

2013 filibuster

On June 25, 2013, Davis performed a filibuster to block Senate Bill 5, a proposal to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require abortion clinics to meet the same standards that hospital-style surgical centers do, and mandate that a doctor who performs abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.[40] She attempted to hold the floor until midnight, when the Senate's special session ended, after which it would no longer be able to vote on the measure.[41] Following an 11-hour filibuster—ending three hours short of midnight—Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst ruled that Davis had gone off topic, forcing a vote on whether the filibuster could continue.[42] Despite Republican efforts, parliamentary inquiries from Leticia R. Van de Putte and others as well as raucous cheering and yelling from the political activists gathered in the Capitol carried on through midnight and the close of the special session.[43] Following the deadline, Republicans indicated that a vote had taken place and passed, while Democrats declared that the vote had taken place after midnight, making it void.[43] Dewhurst later conceded that the bill was dead.[44][45] The next day, Governor Rick Perry called for a second special session to allow for another attempt to pass the abortion restrictions, as well as to address other issues.[46][47] The bill was eventually passed by both the House and the Senate in the July 2013 second special session,[48][49][50] prompting one commentator to state that "Wendy Davis won the battle, but Rick Perry won the war."[51] The bill was signed by Gov. Rick Perry on July 18, 2013.[52]

The filibuster attracted national attention, including in The New York Times and The Washington Post.[53][54] National fundraising by and speculation about a gubernatorial run for Davis also followed.[4] She was encouraged to run by groups like Battleground Texas and EMILY's List.[55]

Campaign for Governor of Texas

On October 3, 2013, Davis announced her intention to run for

Preceded by
Kim Brimer
Member of the Texas Senate
from the 10th district

Succeeded by
Konni Burton
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill White
Democratic nominee for Governor of Texas
Most recent

External links

  1. ^ a b c County Clerk (24 January 1982), Marriage Index 216,  
  2. ^ "Wendy Davis' Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Fikac, Peggy (28 October 2013). "New voting law required Davis to affirm her identity". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Battleground Texas surpasses $1M", Politico, July 15, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  5. ^ Walker, T. (June 28, 2013). "Wendy Davis: Single mother from trailer park who has become heroine of pro-choice movement". London Independent. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ State of Texas Marriage Certificate Number: M194004492 (Report) (437 ed.). Fort Worth, Texas: Tarrant County, Texas. May 20, 1994. p. 1057. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Tinsley, Anna M. (October 3, 2013). "Davis makes it official: she’s running for governor".  
  8. ^ a b c Crawford, Amanda J. & David Mildenberg (September 4, 2013). "Harvard Law Put Davis on Path From Teen Mom to Politician". Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Root, Jay (September 1, 2013). "Spotlight on Davis, the Democrats' Big Hope". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Draper, Robert (12 February 2014). "Can Wendy Davis Have It All?". New York Times. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Manny Fernandez (January 20, 2014). "Accused of Blurring Facts of Stirring Life Story, Texas Lawmaker Offers Chronology". New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Ramshaw, E. (June 4, 2011). "A Filibuster Creates an Overnight Celebrity".  
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Slater, Wayne (January 18, 2014). "As Wendy Davis touts life story in race for governor, key facts blurred".  
  14. ^ a b c d e Killough, Ashley (January 20, 2014). "Report: Wendy Davis' life story more complicated than compelling narrative". CNN. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  15. ^ Mark Lowry; Perry Stewart (5 September 2013). "Jerry Russell, 1936-2013". TheaterJones. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  16. ^ McGraw, D. (August 31, 2011). "Wendy Davis stuck her neck out for schoolkids.". Fort Worth Weekly. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Excerpts on Abortion from Wendy Davis Memoir". Texas Tribune. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  18. ^ Paul J. Weber and Will Weissert (5 September 2014). "Wendy Davis, Who Fought Texas Abortion Law, Had 2 Abortions". Associated Press. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Wendy Davis LinkedIn". LinkedIn. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g "Cantey Hanger, LLP: Wendy R. Davis, Counsel, Fort Worth Office". Cantey Hanger LLP. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Senator Wendy Davis: District 10". Texas State Senate. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  22. ^ Record, State Bar of Texas, Wendy Davis, at [1].
  23. ^ a b c d e "Wendy Davis never gave up parental role, though she agreed to daughter primarily living with father in family's home".  
  24. ^ a b c "Partners & Staff - Newby Davis, PLLC". 
  25. ^ Gardner, Jacylyn. (September 28, 2009). "Memories of U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer". Texas Lawyer.
  26. ^ Fikac, Peggy (February 5, 2014). "Wendy Davis no longer ‘of counsel’ to Fort Worth law firm".  
  27. ^ "Metro & Texas Digest", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, November 3, 2000
  28. ^ Root, Jay. Spotlight on Davis, the Democrats' Big Hope, The Texas Tribune, September 1, 2013.
  29. ^ Martel, Frances (January 27, 2014). "Before Becoming a Democrat Darling, Wendy Davis Donated to George W. Bush". Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Donor Lookup".  
  31. ^ "Wendy Davis Defeats Sen. Kim Brimer". Quorum Report. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  32. ^ Ramshaw, E. (November 6, 2012). "Wendy Davis Clinches Re-election in SD-10". Texas Tribune. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Texas Tribune - State Sen. Wendy Davis". Texas Tribune. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 
  34. ^ Ramshaw, E. (June 4, 2011). "A Filibuster Creates an Overnight Celebrity". New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  35. ^ Burka, P.; Hart, P. (July 2009). "The Best and Worst Legislators 2009". Texas Monthly. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  36. ^ Jacobson, L. (January 2012). "12 State Legislators to Watch in 2012". Governing Magazine. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  37. ^ Montgomery, D. (January 19, 2013). "Is Sen. Wendy Davis poised for statewide race?". Star-Telegraph. Retrieved January 23, 2013. 
  38. ^ Parker, K. (January 23, 2013). "Political futures at risk as Senators draw terms". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  39. ^ Montgomery, D. (March 31, 2013). "Davis re-states intention to run for Senate". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  40. ^ Fernandez, M. (June 25, 2013). "Filibuster in Texas Senate Tries to Halt Abortion Bill". New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  41. ^ Tomlinson, C.; Vertuno, J. (June 26, 2013). "Marathon filibuster: Overnight drama stalls Texas abortion vote". KHOU. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  42. ^ Sutton, J.; Smith, M. (June 25, 2013). "Lawmaker's filibuster to kill Texas abortion bill ends early". CNN. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  43. ^ a b King, Michael (June 26, 2013). "Yea or Nay?". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Liveblog: Senators Trying to Determine if Abortion Bill Passed". The Texas Tribune. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  45. ^ Helen Davidson (June 26, 2013). "'"Wendy Davis filibuster and public protest defeat Texas abortion bill: Texas senator stages 11-hour filibuster to block bill • Vote derailed, lieutenant governor blames 'mob. The Guardian. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Texas Gov. Rick Perry calls 2nd special session to pass abortion bill". CBS News. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  47. ^ "Texas Gov. Perry calls second special session on abortion". Fox News. Associated Press. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  48. ^ Schwartz, John. Texas Senate Vote Puts Bill Restricting Abortion Over Final Hurdle, New York Times, July 2013.
  49. ^ Weiner, Rachel. Texas state Senate passes abortion restrictions, Washington Post, July 13, 2013.
  50. ^ MacLaggan, Corrie. Texas passes abortion restriction bill, governor certain to sign, Reuters, July 13, 2013.
  51. ^ Woodruff, Betsy. Texas: How Pro-Lifers Won, National Review, July 2013.
  52. ^ Luthra, Shefali. Perry Signs Abortion Bill into Law, Texas Tribune, July 18, 2013.
  53. ^ [2]
  54. ^ Weiner, Rachel (2013-06-26). "6 key moments from Wendy Davis’ filibuster". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  55. ^ Fikac, Peggy (August 13, 2013). "Drafting Wendy Davis for governor UPDATE". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  56. ^ a b "Texas Democratic and Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014". Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  57. ^ "Texas election: Wendy Davis wins Democratic primary in governor's race". The Associated Press. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  58. ^ Henderson, Nia-Malika. Wendy Davis’s daughters defend her in letters, Washington Post, January 28, 2014.
  59. ^ a b Reese, Diane. "First ad from Wendy Davis goes on attack in Texas governor’s race".  
  60. ^ Blake, Aaron (October 10, 2014). "Wendy Davis is running one of the nastiest campaign ads you will ever see".  
  61. ^ Dreyfus, Ben (October 10, 2014). "If Wendy Davis Thinks She Can Win an Election by Pointing Out Her Opponent's Disability, She's Wrong".  
  62. ^ Roth, Zachary (October 11, 2014). "Wendy Davis campaign ad featuring empty wheelchair triggers outrage". MSNBC ( 
  63. ^ Root, Jay (4 November 2014). "Greg Abbott Crushes Wendy Davis in GOP Sweep". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  64. ^ Hoppe, Christy (November 5, 2014). "Greg Abbott tops Wendy Davis in Texas governor's race".  
  65. ^ Cillizza, Chris. The worst candidate of the 2014 election, ', November 11, 2014.
  66. ^ Jones, Mark P. (July 10, 2013). "How does Wendy Davis stack up ideologically among other Texas democrats?".  
  67. ^ "Wendy Davis' Voting Records on Issue: Abortion". Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  68. ^ a b "Davis opposes late-term abortions, with certain exceptions". Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  69. ^ Joseph, Cameron (October 4, 2013). "EMILY's List endorses Wendy Davis".  
  70. ^ a b FERNANDEZ, MANNY (February 13, 2014). "Wendy Davis calls on Greg Abbott to stop defending same-sex marriage ban". Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  71. ^ JEFFERS, GROMER (February 13, 2014). "Wendy Davis, Texas Candidate, Offers Nuance on Abortion View". Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  72. ^ a b "Wendy Davis' Voting Records on Issue: Guns". Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  73. ^ "Wendy Davis supports open carry gun law in Texas". 2/6/14. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  74. ^ Fikac, Peggy (February 10, 2014). "Wendy Davis: Cities should be able to decide on guns".  
  75. ^ a b c Waugh, Anna (11 February 2014). "Wendy Davis backs 20-week abortion ban that defers to women". Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  76. ^ "HRC Endorses Wendy Davis for Texas Governor". Human Rights Campaign. January 29, 2014. 
  77. ^ Fikac, Peggy (February 13, 2014). "Wendy Davis calls on Greg Abbott to stop defending same-sex marriage ban". Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  78. ^ "1999 Cumulative Election Report".  
  79. ^ "2003 Cumulative Election Report".  
  80. ^ "2007 Cumulative Election Report" (PDF).  
  81. ^ "2008 General Election".  
  82. ^ "2012 General Election".  
  83. ^ "2014 General Election". Office of the Secretary of State (Texas). Retrieved 2007-01-02. 


  • Davis, Wendy (2014). Forgetting to Be Afraid: A Memoir.  

Published works

. She was reelected in 2012. Kim Brimer career began in 2008, when she unseated by a margin of two percentage points the Republican incumbent, Texas State SenateShe lost her first race for Fort Worth City Council in 1996, but after her election in 1999 she served a nine-year tenure in the Fort Worth City Council. Davis ran unopposed in the 2001 and 2005 general elections. Her

Electoral history

On February 11, 2014, Davis expressed support for decriminalizing marijuana. She said she would back legislation to decrease criminal provisions for possession of small amounts of marijuana and believes medical marijuana should be left to the voters.[70]


In January 2014, Human Rights Campaign endorsed Wendy Davis for Governor in 2014.[76] On February 13, 2014, she expressed support for same-sex marriage and said that Attorney General Greg Abbott, her presumed general-election opponent in the race for governor, should stop defending the state's ban on same-sex marriage.[77]

In 2013, she co-authored the Senate version of a statewide workplace nondiscrimination bill, co-authored inclusive insurance nondiscrimination legislation, and she was one of only two senators to voted against an anti-trans marriage bill.[75]

In 2011, she authored the only LGBT-inclusive version of anti-bullying legislation and co-sponsored youth suicide prevention legislation and lobbied to kill an anti-transgender marriage bill.[75]

In 2000, Davis voted for Fort Worth's nondiscrimination ordinance based on sexual orientation.[75]

LGBT rights

On February 6, 2014, she expressed support for a proposed open carry gun law in Texas, which is currently banned under Texas state law. The state senator from Fort Worth said such a law should allow private property owners to determine whether weapons could be openly carried on their property. She also said background checks and training requirements would "help ensure that only mentally stable, law-abiding citizens may carry, whether concealed or open."[73] She later said that she believes municipalities should be able to decide whether the proposed open carry and existing concealed carry laws should be used in their limits.[74]

In 2013, she voted for a bill establishing certain tax exemptions for firearms manufacturers, along with a bill that authorizes certain university students to transport a licensed handgun or ammunition in a locked motor vehicle on a college or university campus.[72]

In 2011, she voted against a bill that authorizes concealed handgun permit holders to carry concealed handguns while on the campus of an institution of higher education.[72]

While on the Fort Worth City Council, Davis supported gun restrictions, including for gun shows at city facilities.[71]

Gun rights

On February 11, 2014, Davis said that she would have supported a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, if the law adequately deferred to a woman and her doctor. She said she found the ban on abortions after 20 weeks to be the “least objectionable” provision in the abortion bill she filibustered last year.[70]

On June 25, 2013, she held an eleven hour long filibuster to block Senate Bill 5, a measure which included more restrictive abortion regulations for Texas. The filibuster played a major role in Senate Democrats' efforts to delay passage of the bill beyond the midnight deadline for the end of the legislative session, though it ultimately passed in a second session.[10] On August 5, 2013, when asked about what legal limits on abortion she would support, she replied, "You know, the Supreme Court has made that decision. And it’s one of the protected liberties under our Constitution. And I respect the constitutional protections that are in place today." In October 2013, campaign spokesman Bo Delp told Politifact by email it’s incorrect to say Davis opposes any limits. "Like most Texans, Sen. Davis opposes late-term abortions except when the life or health of the mother is endangered, in cases of rape or incest or in the case of severe and irreversible fetal abnormalities," Delp said.[68] Also in October 2013, EMILY's List endorsed Wendy Davis for Governor in 2014.[69]

In 2009 and 2011, Davis voted against a bill that requires physicians to perform a sonogram on and provide other information to abortion patients prior to an abortion. In 2011, she would also vote against a bill that requires an ultrasound prior to an abortion.[67][68]


Upon examining Davis' voting record over her three terms in the Texas Senate, Mark P. Jones, the Chairman of the Department of Political Science at Rice University in Houston, concluded that Davis was the fourth-most liberal senator out of the 31 state senators (including Davis) that served in at least two of the three terms Davis had served in. Jones found that she was "significantly more liberal" than John Whitmire, Juan Hinojosa, Carlos Uresti, and Eddie Lucio, Jr., who represent the centrist wing of the Texas Senate Democrats, "significantly more conservative" than José R. Rodríguez, the most liberal Texas Senate Democrat, and "statistically indistinguishable" from the other six Texas Senate Democrats.[66]

Political positions

On November 4, 2014, Davis lost the race to become governor by a twenty percent margin.[63] According to exit polls she only received 47% of the women voters in Texas.[64] In reference to how well her campaign was run, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post stated that "Wendy Davis was, by any measure, a massive disappointment" by receiving less than 40 percent of the vote in Texas.[65]

In October 2014, a Davis campaign ad was described by Aaron Blake of the Washington Post as "one of the nastiest campaign ads you will ever see." It attacks Abbott as being hypocritical for receiving monies from an accident which incapacitated him, and then, as Attorney General, supporting litigation limits on such payments.[60] Mother Jones called the ad "offensive and nasty".[61] MSNBC stated that the advertisement is probably "a hail mary effort" because Davis is trailing Abbott by double digits in the polls.[62]

In August 2014, Davis released her first campaign ad, titled "A Texas Story." The ad attacked her rival, Abbott, for a Texas Supreme Court decision where he dissented.[59] Diane Reese in the Washington Post called the advertisement "character assassination and fear-mongering".[59]

In January 2014, Wayne Slater, of the Dallas Morning News, reported that while the basic story in which Davis defined herself politically was true, the full story was "more complicated" and the short version Davis had been telling on the campaign trail "blurred" some facts.[13] In particular, Slater noted Davis did not divorce until she was 21, not 19 as she had claimed, that she only lived in her family's mobile home for a few months after the divorce, and that she had been financially supported by Jeff Davis while at TCU and Harvard.[13][23] Davis acknowledged the errors and said, "My language should be tighter. I’m learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail."[13][14][23] Amid the controversy, Davis' daughters each released letters in defense of their mother. Dru, Davis' younger daughter wrote, "I have been reading and hearing so many untrue things about my mom and I wanted to set the record straight."[58]

[56]Texas Attorney General, the then-outgoing Greg Abbott on November 4, 2014 she faced Republican nominee general election In the [57]

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