Wendy Davis’s allure to the far left since her rise to national prominence this summer has been her staunch socially liberal views, though she was not always known in Texas for that. When launching her political career, opponents questioned Davis’s Republican Party affiliations, including voting in primaries and donating to a GOP candidate.
A story from the Texas Tribune last September notes that Davis was not always branded as the “Democrats’ big hope” because she was not always a Democrat. The story repeats a number of now well-known falsehoods about Davis’s backstory–that her mother had a sixth-grade, not ninth-grade, education; that her second marriage fell apart because her “political career soared”–but it makes the rare argument that Davis has cross-partisan appeal.
“Like it or not, the Republicans wish they had Wendy Davis in their party,” former City Councilwoman Becky Haskin tells the paper. Haskin, a Republican, does not comment on the fact that her party once did have Davis. Davis was, the story notes, voting in the state’s Republican primaries a year before running for office as a Democrat. The Tribune reported that Davis voted in the 1996, 1998, and 2006 Republican primaries. What’s more, Davis donated money to Republicans candidates, namely Fort Worth Congresswoman Kay Granger.
It is not entirely clear when or why Davis decided her ideology would better suit the opposing party. The only clue in the piece is when she decided to do it: “In 2007, after nearly a decade at City Hall, Davis set her sights on the Texas Senate, where polls showed GOP incumbent Sen. Kim Brimer to be vulnerable.”
The newspaper asked Davis about the partisan flip-flopping. This was not, after all, a public and vocal divorce a la Charlie Crist. This was a decision made conclusively before the launch of a political career to abandon a previous partisan affiliation for its diametric opposite. Davis’s response was that she was flattered by those who pointed out this discrepancy in her political past and future. “I took that as a compliment, you know, that people didn’t necessarily know what my ideology might be because I wasn’t driven by that,” she told the newspaper.
Given that she told the Tribune she was happy to have her beliefs questioned by Democrats (though that was long before such introspection within the party regarding her ceased completely), it should not be a surprise that there is evidence as recent as two months ago that Davis might not be as tried and true a Democrat as national media claim her to be. In a statewide campaign ad this October announcing her candidacy and introducing her to the greater Texan population, Davis neglected to mention that she was a Democrat. A shrewd move for someone who might not think Democratic ideas stand a chance in most of Texas.
Davis has not been questioned with particular rigor on her ideology. Her Christie-sized scandal this week focused exclusively on her private life–because her campaign so far has focused exclusively on her private life. If Davis has to answer for her ideology, it may just be the far-left that does her in.