State Sen. Wendy Davis’ daughters are weighing in on the controversy surrounding the details of her early biography, saying the Democratic candidate for governor had been subjected to malicious and ludicrous attacks.
In open letters released Tuesday, Amber and Dru Davis said their mother indeed struggled as a single mother but still managed to participate fully in their lives. Dru Davis, who was a toddler when Wendy Davis attended Harvard Law School, called the Fort Worth senator a remarkable mother and role model.
“I hate that I feel the need to write this, but I have been reading and hearing so many untrue things about my mom and I want to set the record straight,” said Dru Davis, now 25. “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.”
Last week the campaign of Davis’ expected Republican opponent, Attorney general Greg Abbott, accused Davis of intentionally misleading voters about her background as a single mother. The charge followed the publication of a story in The Dallas Morning News questioning some of the details in her up-from-the-bootstraps campaign narrative.
Messages left with the Abbott campaign were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.
Davis and her campaign acknowledged that she had turned 21 when her divorce from her first husband became final, even though she and her campaign’s biographical materials had said she was 19 at the time. Davis was separated, but not yet divorced, and lived alone with her daughter Amber as a single mother at age 19, her campaign said.
In the early 1990s, Davis went to Harvard Law School. At first the girls went to live with her, but for the last two years they stayed in Fort Worth. The Davis campaign has said her mother, Ginger Cornstubble, helped care for her daughters along with her husband, Jeff Davis. Wendy and Jeff Davis later divorced.
Conservative bloggers and commentators have cited the time Wendy Davis spent at Harvard as proof that she “abandoned” her daughters. But in their open letters, Dru and Amber Davis called that an unfair characterization.
“Yes, she went to law school after my sister and I were born. We lived with her the first semester, but I had severe asthma and the weather there wasn't good for me,” Dru Davis wrote. “My parents made a decision for my sister and me to stay in Texas while my mom kept going to school. But that doesn't mean she wasn't there for us. She traveled back and forth all the time, missing so many classes so that she could be with us.”
Amber Davis, 31, who has appeared in ads for her mom's campaign, said in her open letter that she felt compelled to speak out after reading “ludicrous” comments on social media about her and her 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,” she said.
“Yes, we lived in a trailer,” Amber Davis added, tackling questions raised about that part of the Wendy Davis narrative. “Does it matter how long? Not to me.”
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/01/28/davis-daughters-fire-back-critics/.