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The Brief: Nov. 13, 2014

Wendy Davis' rout was foretold by a couple of Democratic strategists who despaired nearly a year ago over the direction in which the Democratic gubernatorial candidate was taking her campaign.

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Wendy Davis shows her book "Forgetting to be Afraid" at Book People on September 11th, 2014

The Big Conversation

Wendy Davis' rout was foretold by a couple of Democratic strategists who despaired nearly a year ago over the direction in which the gubernatorial candidate was taking her campaign.

That's according to a memo and letter penned by the founders of Prism Communications, a consulting firm that had helped Davis with her two successful runs for the Texas Senate. The communications were obtained by the Tribune's Jay Root:

Addressed to then-Campaign Manager Karin Johanson, the memo warned that the Davis campaign had “lurched to the left,” was failing to communicate a positive message and offered virtually nothing to the swing voters the senator would need to win statewide.

“There is not a model where a candidate who appears this liberal and culturally out of touch gets elected statewide anywhere in the south — much less in Texas — without some inoculation,” the consultants said.


They wrote that the campaign was failing to portray Davis “like a Texan” and had turned her into a generic Democrat who would only have a chance in a state with a recent history of electing Democrats. The party hasn’t won a statewide election in Texas since 1994.

“Running Wendy Davis as a generic national Democrat is not only the quickest path to 38 percent, it’s also a huge disservice to Wendy, her record and the brand she has built,” they wrote. Davis got 38.9 percent of the vote, compared with the 59.3 percent of voters who cast ballots for Abbott.

The Day Ahead

•    The Sunset Advisory Commission meets at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Extension. Agencies eligible for public testimony include the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Education Agency. (agenda)

•    Texas Politics Project director and Texas Tribune pollster James Henson will moderate Education 2.0, a panel discussion on how technology is transforming public and higher education in Texas. The noon event will take place at the San Antonio Central Library and will be livestreamed on the Tribune's website.

Trib Must-Reads

Cost of Living Straps West Texans Without Oilfield Jobs, by Justin Dehn

Courts Will Take Up Case of Fracking v. Drilling, by Jim Malewitz

Perry-Appointed Board Backs Health Coverage Expansion, by Edgar Walters

Health Commissioner Endorses "Mega-Agency", by Edgar Walters

Bill Restricting Regents' Authority Re-Emerges, by Bobby Blanchard

Appeals Court Denies Request to Rehear Fisher v. UT, by Reeve Hamilton

Site to Inform Low-Income Women About Health Services, by Bobby Blanchard


Castro under consideration for party postSan Antonio Express-News

Rep. Stockman, 3 aides subpoenaedHouston Chronicle

Cornyn stresses prospects for cooperation with DemocratsThe Dallas Morning News

Ebola victim’s family settles with Dallas hospitalFort Worth Star-Telegram

Firebrand at the Railroad CommissionThe Dallas Morning News

Mike Martinez accuses Steve Adler of Koch brother tiesAustin American-Statesman

The Epic 2014 Frenzy Voters Never Saw, National Journal

Quote to Note

"They've asked me ... 'Coach, you just got beat 66-6. Why are you so excited?' All I want in life is an opportunity. Hey, this week is opportunity No. 11."

— Houston Scarborough football coach Ajani Sanders on his team's appearance in the playoffs despite an 0-10 record.

Today in TribTalk

Let Texas lawmakers invest in our future, by Ann Beeson

News From Home

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Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Special TribLive Happy Hour Panel Discussion Assessing Rick Perry’s Legacy, on Nov. 18 on the patio at El Arroyo

•    A Conversation With Reps. Myra Crownover, Tan Parker and Ron Simmons on Dec. 1 at Texas Woman's University in Denton

•    A Conversation With Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Dec. 4 at The Austin Club

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Energy Environment Health care Higher education Politics Joaquin Castro John Cornyn Rick Perry Wendy Davis