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What Pushing Back Says About the Davis Campaign

Those looking for hints at what the months ahead will bring in the governor's race should look at how the Davis campaign handled Trailergate

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

Wayne Slater's piece on discrepancies in Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis' presentation of her life story has been by now entirely picked over. It's instructive, though, to look at how her campaign responded on Monday. It pushed back.

The Davis camp's statement, which began by framing the controversy as a campaign attack by her GOP rival Greg Abbott rather than an embarrassing story from a reporter the Democrats often count as a friendly, was notable for its vehemence. "I am proud of where I came from and I am proud of what I’ve been able to achieve through hard work and perseverance," Davis said. "And I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn’t walked a day in my shoes."

For those of us following the ground war in Texas, that's a tell as to how the rest of this campaign will be conducted — in a word, forcefully.

Still, the focus on Davis' resume did have one big effect on the emerging contours of the race for governor. No one is talking about Davis' $12.2 million campaign haul anymore.


There was one other item of note this week from the Davis campaign, the announcement that President Obama's pollster, Joel Benenson, had been brought on board to work on Davis' bid for governor. The hire is another sign of the Davis camp bringing national Democratic resources to bear in the race, following the hire of campaign manager Karin Johanson, who worked on the nationally prominent Wisconsin Senate campaign of Tammy Baldwin. There's also the Davis' campaign's close alignment with Battleground Texas, the effort to turn Texas into a swing state that is led by a pair of veterans of Obama's voter turnout machine.


Two candidates for Railroad Commissioner — Ryan Sitton and former state Rep. Wayne Christian — posted huge campaign finance figures, which, it turns out, were bolstered by $1 million loans to their campaigns. The Sitton campaign, of course, issued a press release the week after the Jan. 15 campaign reports touting itself as the campaign "with Most Cash on Hand." Another candidate, Malachi Boyuls, raised the most cash of the candidates over the final half of 2013.


It's been a busy week for state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, who is in a hot primary contest against HEB ISD school board member Andy Cargile. Stickland, a Tea Party favorite, collected the endorsement of Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator who is eyeing a run for the presidency in 2016.

Stickland then garnered negative attention for Cargile's sharing of Facebook comments by Stickland that appear to speak in favor of union rights and gay marriage. Stickland responded by accusing Cargile of mudslinging instead of focusing on Stickland's record.

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