Democrat Wendy Davis, who was at the receiving end of a double-digit pummeling in the 2014 Texas Governor’s race with Republican Greg Abbott, is attempting to launch a new career as a professional speaker. However, the speakers agency she is seeking to represent her has made comments that seem to indicate they are not entirely sold on her viability.
Davis has a profile posted on the website of the American Program Bureau (APB), an agency that claims over fifty years’ experience and the “largest speaker roster in the industry.” Her profile describes her as “a vocal defender of women’s rights and proponent of education” and says that she is “known as a firebrand” and who “brings caché and name recognition to your event” and “a strong speaker who has the power to glue audiences to their seats.”
Davis’ profile on the APB website also includes a YouTube video about her infamous 2013 filibuster of HB 2, Texas’ law banning late term abortions and imposing additional health and safety requirements on abortion clinics. Speaking in short, choppy phrases, Davis touts her filibuster, and mentions that the bill passed despite her efforts so she is continuing her work supporting Planned Parenthood, as an odd-looking image of just the top half of her body is superimposed on the video, moving around the screen.
Republican media strategist Rick Wilson scoffed at Davis’ efforts, describing the video as “all the production values of a slightly backward community college TV station, circa 1995.” Wilson noted that while “there’s always a market for niche products…like failed candidates for governor,” he did not see that she still had a sufficient fan base remaining to launch a viable national speaking career. “On the plus side, Wendy Davis has legions of adoring fans. On the downside, they could all fit in an eight person booth at an International House of Pancakes,” he quipped.
Davis’ dreams of joining former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and birth control activist Sandra Fluke on the liberal speaking circuit face bigger challenges than just one awkward video, however. According to a Houston Chronicle interview with Bob Davis (no known relation to Ms. Davis), the senior vice president of APB, the agency has “not made any contractual relationship yet,” describing the relationship as “exploratory” while they “determine whether or not we can do the job for her.”
This relationship with APB is not exclusive, and he added that Davis had been “flexible” in her expectations about how much she could expect to be paid. “She’s not looking to be compensated at the rate of some of the national super-star political figures,” Bob Davis said. “She has reasonable expectations and a very sincere desire to reach out to young women across the country.”
Davis has been able to book several upcoming speaking appearances, mostly at Planned Parenthood events or on college campuses. It is not known what kind of speaker’s fee she is receiving for any of those appearances.
Davis also must figure out how to overcome the disappointment that her once-ardent supporters now feel about her failed campaign, which we at Breitbart Texas described recently as “aggressively catastrophic.” After stepping into the national spotlight during her filibuster, she raised millions of dollars from pro-choice activists and other liberal supporters across the country, but was never able to translate that into actual support among Texas voters.
Trailing in the polls during the entire campaign, Davis made a bad situation worse with a series of well-publicized missteps, including a Dallas Morning News article exposing substantial misrepresentations in her personal biography, her argument with a debate moderator that Abbott’s campaign labeled as a “meltdown” in a video clip that went viral, and an infamous ad that used the image of a wheelchair to attack Abbott, who was paralyzed as a young man when a tree fell on him while he was jogging.
Since the campaign ended, Davis has continued to earn less-than-positive press. Breitbart Texas reported how, in January, she backtracked on her support for the open carry of firearms, admitting that she had not actually believed in the issue and was hoping it would earn her votes from gun rights supporters. Davis also made headlines for sniping at her successor, tea party activist and newly-elected State Sen. Konni Burton (R-Colleyville), criticizing her custom-made boots with a pro-life message as “kitschy.”
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.