The daughters of Texas State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis rejected criticism that their mother embellished details in her personal biography, including the amount of responsibility she took in raising them.
“I have been reading and hearing so many untrue things about my mom and I want to set the record straight,” Davis’ daughter Dru, now 25, wrote in a statement.
“And sadly I feel the need to be crystal clear on the malicious and false charge of abandonment as nothing could be further from the truth. My mom has always shared equally in the care and custody of my sister and me.”
A report in the Dallas Morning News alleged that Davis, who became a rising star in the Democratic Party after a filibuster to protest restrictive abortion legislation, had been citing details about her life story that were “blurred”: among them, the amount of time she lived in a mobile home and how she paid for her law school education.
In campaign speeches and fundraisers, Davis has touted her personal experience as a single teen mom who graduated from Harvard Law and won a seat in the state senate as an example of the economic mobility that can be fueled by education.
But as Wayne Slater pointed out in the Dallas Morning News, Davis divorced at age 21, not 19, and lived in the mobile home she often speaks of for only a few months. Slater also reported that Davis’s second husband, with whom she had another daughter, paid for her last two years of college and her time at Harvard Law, and that the kids lived with him while she was in school and after they divorced.
“The truth is that at age 19, I was a teenage mother living alone with my daughter in a trailer and struggling to keep us afloat on my way to a divorce,” Davis responded, adding that her divorce was finalized when she was 21 and that her daughters lived with her during her first year of law school. She divorced her second husband, Jeff Davis, in 2005.
“I can tell you that my mom was a remarkable mother and continues to be so to this day. She was there on my first day of school and my last, and so many days in between. She never missed a school performance or a parent-teacher conference. Even if that meant she had to miss something else important. My sister and I were always her first priority. She was there when I needed her and even when I thought I didn’t,” Dru wrote.
A letter from Davis’ daughter Amber, now 31, was also released.
“I have spent the past few days reading the ludicrous comments that people have shared on social media about my mother and our family. It is a shame that those who don’t know us feel the need to comment on the details of our lives as if they’ve lived them. I have a hard time understanding how such hate and negativity can result from one person’s false accusations,” she wrote.
Davis is challenging Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, for the governorship. Davis, a Democrat, reportedly has about $12 million in her war chest, while Abbot has raised more than twice that. Polling shows Davis down by single digits with a quarter of registered voters undecided.