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Did Wendy David misrepresent her background?

October 2013: Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D) announces her intention to run for governor.
October 2013: Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D) announces her intention to run for governor.
Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images

Last summer, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis became a national sensation for her filibuster against a Texas law which raised health standards for abortion clinics in Texas and protects unborn babies after the fifth month of pregnancy. The law was passed the following week in a special session called by Governor Rick Perry. The law continues to be challenged in the courts.

Davis became a hero to the pro-abortion left with immediate calls for her to run for governor. Now, it appears that Davis may have been less than truthful about her past experiences.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

While her state Senate filibuster last year captured national attention, it is her biography — a divorced teenage mother living in a trailer who earned her way to Harvard and political achievement — that her team is using to attract voters and boost fundraising.

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. In the shorthand version that has developed, some facts have been blurred.

Complicated indeed. Andrew Stiles writes at National Review Online:

In the ABC interview with Zeleny, Davis repeated a false claim she made under oath in 2012, and has made on numerous occasions since: that she was 19 years old when she divorced her first husband. She was actually 21. Other fabrications uncovered by Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News include the fact that Davis’s second husband, Jeff Davis, helped pay for her tuition at Texas Christian University and Harvard Law School, in part by cashing in his 401(k) and taking out a loan. Davis’s website states that she financed her education “with the help of academic scholarships and student loans.” Jeff Davis told Slater that the relationship ended almost immediately after he made the final payment on the Harvard Law School loan. “It was ironic,” he said. “I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left.”

Matt Hirsch a spokesman for Republican Candidate Greg Abbott said in a statement that Davis had "systematically, intentionally and repeatedly deceived Texans for years about her background, yet she expects voters to indulge her fanciful narrative."

In addition to the above, ABC News reports that Davis' mother's Facebook page points to another contradiction in the Davis story. Davis suggested in 2012 that her mother only had a sixth-grade education but the statement from Davis says her mother "had attended school only into the ninth grade."

Whether or not Davis' statements of which she herself says need tightening up will derail her already-uphill campaign in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat for Governor since 1990 remains to be seen. But Davis has quickly learned that, as a candidate for a major office getting national attention, details are important.

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