The Wendy Davis campaign reportedly received a warning in January that it was too dysfunctional and too liberal to win a statewide election in Texas.
In the high-profile race for governor, state Attorney General Greg Abbott defeated Davis by 20 points in last Tuesday’s election. Republicans continue their lock on all Texas constitutional offices, decisively turning back an attempt by Democrats and a progressive, Obama-aligned organization called Battleground Texas to switch the state from red to blue.
Davis was previously a little-known Democrat state senator in Texas. The national media made Davis an overnight political star in the summer of 2013 when she conducted an 11-hour filibuster of a bill in the legislature that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks. Based at least in part on that exposure, she subsequently won the Democrat nomination to run for governor. One conservative commentator at the time sparked a controversy by nicknaming her “abortion Barbie.” The bill in question subsequently was voted into law in a special legislative session.
As far as Davis’ viability as a candidate, the facts on the ground were apparently far different than portrayed by the Big Media, however.
Two Davis campaign consultants submitted a long memo to then-campaign manager Karin Johanson (who would be replaced about six months later), according to the Texas Tribune, that insisted that Davis was headed to defeat under the existing political strategy that, in their opinion, was lurching too far to the left.
The prophetic January internal memo from Democrat operatives Peter Cari and Maura Dougherty of Prism Communications reportedly warned in part that…
The campaign is in disarray and is in danger of being embarrassed. The level of dysfunction was understandable in July and August, when we had no infrastructure in place — but it doesn’t seem to be getting better … 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.”
According to the Washington Examiner, “Davis attended star-studded fundraisers in Hollywood and New York– about 27 percent of her fundraising in the first quarter came from outside of Texas.”
The Prism memo added that the campaign was miscalculating by portraying Wendy Davis as a “national Democrat, appealing to liberal donors in the mistaken belief that there is a hidden liberal base in Texas that will turn out to vote if they have a liberal candidate to support.”
Prism was fired by the Wendy Davis campaign shortly thereafter. The consultants subsequently just about nailed Davis’ share of the vote in her losing bid at 38 percent. The final number was 38.9 percent.
“War on women” rhetoric also apparently failed for Wendy Davis. In his victory, AG Abbott received 54 percent of the women’s vote, including a 25-point margin with married women. He also won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, according to the New York Times.
While Wendy Davis was falling short of winning the governor’s mansion for the Democrats, the state senate seat that she vacated to go for higher office was won by Republican pro-life, Tea Party candidate Konni Burton.
[Image credit: Kevin Sutherland]