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The Brief: Jan. 20, 2014

Wendy Davis' life story is once again under scrutiny, this time after a Sunday piece by The Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater.

Democratic candidate for Governor of Texas, Sen. Wendy Davis, speaks to press after meeting with volunteers at a phone bank in Austin, Texas

The Big Conversation

Wendy Davis' life story is once again under scrutiny, this time after a Sunday piece by The Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater. "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," Slater wrote. "In the shorthand version that has developed, some facts have been blurred."

The narrative of a teen mother who made it to Harvard Law School and then made national headlines through her filibuster of an abortion regulation bill established the basic frame for the Democratic gubernatorial hopeful. But, as Slater points out, her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, and others will look for ways to poke holes in the story.

The Austin American-Statesman's Jonathan Tilove reported that as of Sunday evening, both campaigns were working hard to put the discrepancies in Davis' presentation of her biography in the context most favorable to each one. Tilove quotes Rice University political scientist Mark Jones, who says the Slater piece at the very least “certainly threw a bucket of cold water on what had until this morning been a truly banner week for Davis.”

The Day Ahead

•    Today marks the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. State and federal offices are closed, as are banks, the stock market and postal service.

•    Lite guv candidates Jerry Patterson and Todd Staples are among those expected at a candidate forum hosted by the King Street Patriots this evening in Houston.

Today in the Trib

Consultant Who Stumped for Cruz Targets Sessions: "U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, is facing a primary challenge from Katrina Pierson, a candidate with strong ties to the national Tea Party movement and Ted Cruz's successful campaign for U.S. Senate."

Turner's Declaration Could Impact Republican Primaries: "Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco, wants to be speaker of the Texas House. That could make him a topic of discussion in this year's Republican primaries for the House."

Torn Between Higher Taxes and Border Hassles: "Local government officials are eyeing extra revenue from Mexicans crossing the Rio Grande to save on items after a sales tax increase in Mexico's border regions. But cross-border traffic could deter some of the potential customers."

Today in TW Politics

Comptroller candidate Harvey Hilderbran drops what his campaign says is the first TV ad aired in the race for comptroller this cycle. Check it out on the TW Politics page (free until Feb. 1).


Cornyn campaign plays out in the shadows, Houston Chronicle

Ayala: Van de Putte and the DRT: a twisted plot thickens, San Antonio Express-News

Fikac: Dan Patrick linking immigration and violent crime, Houston Chronicle

Mexico objects to US execution of Mexican man, The Associated Press

In reversal, Texas Oncology to participate in health plans on federal marketplace, Austin American-Statesman

Going The Distance: On and off the road with Barack Obama, The New Yorker

Quote to Note

“One day at the end of a meeting, Jerry asked, ‘How do you like younger women? My daughter wants to go out with you.’ I was flattered so I took her out. We dated two or three years, then got married.”

Jeff Davis on how he met his future wife, Wendy Davis, whose life story is attracting more scrutiny now that she is running for governor

News From Home

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Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation on Our Nation's Future Featuring U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan in San Antonio, 1/23

•    Comptroller candidate Debra Medina at the Austin Club, 1/30 

•    Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, candidate for lieutenant governor, at the Austin Club, 2/6

•    Sen. Kel Seliger and Reps. John Smithee and Four Price at West Texas A&M in Canyon, 2/7

•    Reps. Joe Deshotel and Allan Ritter at Lamar University in Beaumont, 2/19

•    Texas Tribune Festival On the Road at The University of Texas El Paso for a daylong symposium on demographic change, 2/27

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21

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Explore related story topics

Health care Politics Four Price Greg Abbott Joe Deshotel John Cornyn John Smithee Kel Seliger Pete Sessions Ted Cruz Wendy Davis