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The Brief: Sept. 8, 2014

Following the revelation that Wendy Davis had two abortions performed for medical reasons more than 15 years ago, the question pursued over the weekend was how this would affect the dynamics of the race for governor.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, speaks to media during a campaign stop at East Austin restaurant Juan in a Million on May 6th, 2014

The Big Conversation

Following the news late on Friday that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis wrote in her newly published memoir that she had two abortions performed for medical reasons more than 15 years ago, the question pursued over the weekend was how this would affect the dynamics of the race for governor.

Jonathan Tilove of the Austin American-Statesman wrote that the memoir was both "a bold gamble" and had "no ready precedent in Texas or elsewhere" for a candidate to release something with so many personal details while "in the thick of a major political campaign."

Tilove also reported that Davis' decision to push abortion back into the field of play could also be seen as setting a trap for GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott in that it forces him to possibly address the issue in a debate or respond if a fellow Republican comes out with an insensitive or offensive statement.

Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had a field report from Dallas on Saturday morning in which Davis "only hinted at the saddest and most stunning parts of her new book" in a breakfast speech to Hispanic community activists.

Dallas Democrat Domingo García told Kennedy that he applauded Davis' decision to focus on a proposal unveiled late last week to push the minimum wage in Texas to $10 per hour. “This election is going to be won on the issues facing Texans, like raising the minimum wage and funding education,” he told Kennedy. “There will be a lot of talk about personal background. But she needs to keep talking about the issues that motivate voters.”

Peggy Fikac of the San Antonio Express-News wrote that the memoir does "give a nuanced, personal view of the senator, who has been caricatured as an extreme liberal by the right and has received criticism from some on the left for having been reluctant to use the word abortion. ... There's policy in the memoir, but it's not the sort of book that many candidates put out there in the midst of a race — even a candidate like Davis, whose trailer-park-to-Harvard-Law-School narrative has been an important part of her campaign pitch."

Fikac found a parallel with the 1989 memoir by Ann Richards, who wrote about her alcoholism and failed marriage before she participated in a particular tough primary campaign for governor:

Richards' response, when asked in 1989 about her story, also may resonate with Davis.

“People ask me what it's like to write your life story,” Richards told the Los Angeles Times. “Well, I feel like Lady Godiva riding buck naked down the street. You're all out there, for everyone to see.”

Trib Must-Reads

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Quote to Note

"In the Bible, they even lump the tax collectors together with prostitutes. But I like to remind people that Matthew, one of the disciples, was also a tax collector."

— Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector J.R. Moore, giving a clear-eyed assessment of how the general public views his profession. Moore is stepping down after nearly 28 years on the job.

Today in TribTalk

Let’s invest in Texas’ fast-growing schools, by Michelle Smith

Davis abortion history speaks to women, by Yvonne Gutierrez

Davis abortion history doesn't resonate with voters, by Melissa Conway

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa and Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri, on Sept. 10 at The Austin Club

•    The full program has been announced for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival, Sept. 19-21.

Students at the Fest: Check out the full #TTFstudents program at the Tribune Festival featuring exclusive events, a private lounge and more. Register for just $50, or volunteer and attend for free!

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, on Sept. 24 at the UTSA Downtown Campus in San Antonio.

•    A Conversation With Kathie Glass, 2014 Libertarian Nominee for Governor, on Oct. 2 at The Austin Club

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Health care Politics Public education Rick Perry Ted Cruz Wendy Davis