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The Brief: Jan. 29, 2014

Time magazine on Tuesday posted an article talking about Wendy Davis' "moment of truth." Davis then spent the rest of the day making the most concerted effort of the past week to push aside critics who have seized on details of her life story to say she isn't fit for office.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, a Democratic candidate for Governor, speaking at the Travis County Democratic Fundraiser on Jan. 28, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Time magazine on Tuesday posted an article talking about Wendy Davis' "moment of truth." The Democratic gubernatorial candidate then spent the rest of the day making the most concerted effort of the past week to push aside critics who have seized on details of her life story to say she isn't fit for office.

Speaking to a Travis County Democratic Party fundraiser on Tuesday evening, Davis blamed her GOP opponent Greg Abbott and his allies "for waging a smear campaign against her family," wrote the Tribune's Jay Root. The money quote from Davis was this: “Greg Abbott and his folks have picked a fight with the wrong Texas gal if they think that I will shrink from working to fight for a just and right future for all Texans,” she said. “I will keep fighting hard — no matter what the other side throws at me.”

Earlier in the day, the Davis campaign released letters written by the candidate's two daughters defending their mother. And in her speech Tuesday night, Davis seemed intent to use the day to definitively pivot away from the controversy over her biography.

Elizabeth Titus of Politico wrote, "She said she had to make the comments 'before I leave Greg Abbott and his allies to play in the gutter once and for all.' ... But it’s not clear whether the efforts will mark the end of the controversy swirling around Davis, who has drawn on her life story in her uphill fight against Abbott, the better-financed candidate in a state that has not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994."

Today in the Trib

Israel Defeats VanDeWalle in HD-50 Runoff: "Democrat Celia Israel defeated Republican Mike VanDeWalle on Tuesday in a special election runoff for House District 50. She will serve the remainder of former state Rep. Mark Strama's term."

Race for Cornyn's Seat Most Crowded: "Twenty candidates — including seven Republicans and five Democrats — are hoping to unseat U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. It is by far the most crowded statewide race in Texas this year."

More Border Apprehensions, but Spotlight Shifts From Mexico: "The number of immigrants apprehended while attempting to cross the United States' southern border rose last year, but most of the increase can be attributed to immigrants coming from countries other than Mexico."

Rio Grande Water Users Fear Groundwater Pumping Project: "A controversial groundwater pumping plan that opponents argue could threaten the lower Rio Grande River's already depleted supply is highlighting a conundrum in Texas water law."

Clay Johnston: The TT Interview: "The inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin discusses his vision for the school, how health care needs to change, and his thoughts on tension between the university and the UT System."


In State of the Union, Obama Vows Solo Action on the Economy, The New York Times

Ted Cruz: The Imperial Presidency of Barack Obama, The Wall Street Journal

Stockman walks out on Obama, The Dallas Morning News

Texas Emerging Technology Fund recipient files for bankruptcy, The Dallas Morning News

State Senate District 10 GOP candidates say chamber rules need to change, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Marisa Marquez, Lyda Ness-Garcia race for Texas District 77 seat, El Paso Times

Don’t be surprised if your TV soon seems to know everything about your politics, The Washington Post

Quote to Note

"I pursued my education not instead of being a good mother, but because being a good mother required that I build a better life for my family – and a better education made that possible."

— Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, fighting back in a Tuesday evening speech against critics who have accused her of abandoning her children after a Dallas Morning News article scrutinized the details of her life story

News From Home

We're in the final week of the free preview of Texas Weekly. Enjoy it while you can, but don’t wait to sign up! It all ends Feb. 1.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    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

Politics Four Price Greg Abbott John Cornyn John Smithee Kel Seliger Rick Perry Ted Cruz Wendy Davis