Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis released a chronology of her life on Monday, a day after a Dallas newspaper reported the Democrat has been inaccurate about some biographical details.
"I've always been open about my life not because my story is unique, but because it isn't," Davis said in a statement.
Davis' up-from-the-bootstraps story became well known outside of Texas as the Fort Worth state senator attracted national attention for her filibuster last year of a bill restricting access to abortion. She parlayed that fame as she built her campaign coffers.
Davis is now the leading Democratic candidate to succeed retiring Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in what will be a tough race against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott. No Democrat has been elected governor since 1990.
"Some facts have been blurred," the Dallas Morning News reported in Sunday's editions about Davis and her oft-repeated story. That narrative has focused on Davis as a teenaged single mother who once lived in a trailer park before going on to Harvard Law School and a successful career as a lawyer.
Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater said Davis was 21, not 19, when she got a divorce from her first husband, with whom she had a daughter named Amber. The newspaper story says Davis "lived only a few months in the family mobile home" during her separation from Frank Underwood. Davis then lived with her mother for a time before moving into her own apartment with Amber.
Her second husband, Jeff Davis, helped pay for her last two years at Texas Christian University and her law school tuition at Harvard, according to the Dallas story. Wendy Davis' second marriage ended in divorce and Jeff Davis was awarded custody of their youngest daughter, Dru. She was ordered to pay child support, the Dallas newspaper says.
Davis told the Dallas newspaper that her "language should be tighter" when providing biographic details. She said she was "learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail."
In her chronology, Davis said she and her second husband shared custody of Amber and Dru. "Wendy was constantly present and sharing in the support and raising of her daughters as they grew up, attended college and have taken on jobs of their own," her statement said.
Matt Hirsch, communications director for the Abbott campaign, said in a statement Monday that Davis is "trying to hide her past."
"Sen. Wendy Davis systematically, intentionally and repeatedly deceived Texans for years about her background, yet she expects voters to indulge her fanciful narrative," Hirsch said. "If voters can't trust what Sen. Davis says, how can they trust her to lead?"
Davis criticized Abbott's campaign attacks on her biography. She defended her single-mother years and divorces, and how she overcame those challenges in her life.
"I am proud of where I came from and I am proud of what I've been able to achieve through hard work and perserverance," Davis said. "And I guarantee you that anyone who tries to say otherwise hasn't walked a day in my shoes."
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