January 22nd, 2014
01:52 PM ET
3 months ago

Ex-husband: Wendy Davis would be a 'very capable governor'

Dallas (CNN) – Wendy Davis' second ex-husband, Jeff Davis, says he doesn't want to talk any more about his ex-wife, adding he wasn't pleased with the explosive debate that originated from his recent comments about the Texas gubernatorial candidate.

"Despite our differences, Wendy would make a very capable governor," he said Tuesday in an email response, in which he declined a request for an on-camera interview with CNN.


   

"Certain comments seem to always be taken out of context and the firestorm of Facebook/hashtag stuff is not useful for forming opinions," he added.

Social media indeed was set ablaze this week with critics of Davis, as well as defenders.

In a Dallas Morning News article published Sunday, Davis, a Democratic state senator now famous for her 2013 filibuster against an abortion bill, admitted she had not been totally accurate about details from her personal history–a story about a teenage mother who rose out of poverty by putting herself through college and becoming a Texas lawmaker.

While it's common for politicians to squeeze their personal narratives into a catchy, shorthand version that will appeal to voters, the article points out that Davis had blurred facts about her first marriage and how long she lived in a trailer as a single mother.

Davis is also taking heat for rarely mentioning her second ex-husband, Jeff Davis, a Fort Worth attorney who financially helped her finish college and who cashed out his 401(k) so she could go to Harvard Law School.

Jeff Davis told CNN he took out the 401(k) for other reasons, as well.  The market was down at the time and he had some investments go south, so he received some financial advice to take out a  401(k) loan.

Having previously served on the Fort Worth City Council, Jeff Davis also said he "opened some doors for her" as she pursued her interest in local politics. She lost her first race for city council in 1996 but won two years later.

Davis’ campaign trail omission about her ex-husband sparked an uproar among her opponents and critics. A spokesman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the likely GOP nominee in this year's gubernatorial race, said Davis "systematically, intentionally and repeatedly deceived Texans for years about her background."

Those sentiments were echoed on Twitter, where her detractors created and fueled a hashtag "MoreFakeThanWendyDavis" that went trending nationwide.

While the Dallas Morning News article sparked a fierce response, it wasn't the first time Jeff Davis has been brought up in a report about Davis' life. She talked to Vogue about her ex-husband last year, saying she still considers him one of her "role models." She also brought up the fact that he used his 401(k) to pay the tuition at Harvard.

"When you’re married to someone, you put them first; it’s pretty simple,” Jeff Davis told Vogue.

Wendy Davis also talked about Jeff and his financial role to the San Antonio Express News and Texas Tribune last year. And he was mentioned in a profile story about her life by Bloomberg.

Though she has acknowledged Jeff Davis to the media in the past, she takes issue with the idea that he solely supported her.

"I was a vibrant part of contributing to our family finances from the time I graduated to the time we separated in 2003," she told the Dallas Morning News.

Davis has defended her overall narrative of overcoming poverty to get an education and build a successful career. On Tuesday, she started firing up her own supporters by posting an open letter on her website asking for support.

"You’re damn right it’s a true story," she wrote.

Her campaign also released bulleted notes on Monday trying to clarify some of the fuzzy details from her biography.

Bud Kennedy, a veteran columnist for the Fort Worth Star Telegram, has covered Davis' political career over the years and said the recent dustup marks "what's going to be the year of things we didn't know about Wendy Davis."

He added her opponents will trudge out more research about her voting history on the city council, but ultimately "the question is not does Wendy Davis have all her ducks in a row about what her life was like twenty years ago. The question is do I want Greg Abbott or Wendy Davis leading Texas."


Filed under: 2014 • Texas • Wendy Davis
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. ada ada

    Ha Ha po fellow Jeff, was probably afraid of an IRS audit orchestrated by the WH/DNC , (or NSA taracking) and thus came out in totul support for his ex Wife now.....

    January 22, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. rs

    Given the skills of the current Governor of Texas, it won't take a whole lot to be "capable". I suspect Ms. Davis could beat that measure handily.

    January 22, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. TONE

    Most Republican governors of texas are mostly idiots, the most idiotic of them all is Perry what does it say about the intelligence of texans? this beautiful young lady if become gov will be the cream of the crop.

    January 22, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    She sounds like a ruthlessly agressive person. Not a very redeeming quality. That fillibuster was nothing more than a publicity stunt, and a bunch of suckers bought it hook, line, and sinker.

    January 22, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. much thunder...little rain

    yea her track record as a wife ... 2 times not so good ..maybe the 3 rd husband will be the charm....but as the leader of the state...not so much...

    January 22, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    While it's common for politicians to squeeze their personal narratives into a catchy, shorthand version that will appeal to voters, the article points out that Davis had blurred facts about her first marriage and how long she lived in a trailer as a single mother.
    --------------------
    Oh, goodness, gracious, me. She hasn't lived in a trailer park long enough to be Governor of Texas?

    January 22, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. The REAL Truth...

    The furor over Davis indicates how freakin' scared the GOP is of her, and what she can do to end their rule in TX. Texas falls, so does the rest of the country... desperation rules in GOP-land.

    January 22, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. simplyput

    Very capable governor of what? Her opponent, Greg Abbot, has a BBA in FINANCE to go along with the law degree, years in justice, 30 year marriage, solid Catholic, etc. Go windy!

    January 22, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    TYPO Correction: I meant to say
    "In case you hadn't noticed, pro-choice does NOT mean pro-abortion".

    January 22, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. tom l

    The furor over Davis indicates how freakin' scared the GOP is of her, and what she can do to end their rule in TX. Texas falls, so does the rest of the country... desperation rules in GOP-land.

    Should read

    The furor over Christie indicates how freakin' scared the democrats are of him, and what he can do to end their rule in the White House.

    There you go. Makes more sense now.

    January 22, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    My, my. So many experts posting here as to the qualifications of Wendy Davis and the "intelligence" of Texans.

    "Sounds like a ruthlessly aggresive person............."
    "..her track record as a wife...2 times not so good"

    Thanks for your input. But, some of us don't want another Perry which is what we would get with Greg Abbott....
    twice as bad.
    So, go hug your lovely Sanfords, Vitters, McConnells, Trumps, and all those other fine pillars of virtue.....
    and congratulations on your purity.

    January 22, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Ol' Yeller

    Here is your article you were crying for tom I. I'm sure it isn't exactly what you wanted because it did not include a tearful apology from Wendy Davis, her head, and her withdrawal from the race.
    Seems like the guy who cashed out his 401K for her isn't near as pi**ed off as you.
    I would think you would be a BIG FAN of Ms. Davis, seeing how you are a lbertatrian and all. She fillibustered a bill which called for massive government intrusion... but then again, you never have been as 'libertarian' as you like to make yourself out to be... that is just a safe place for you to run when we start calling you out on your neo-con views (don't feel bad, a lot of people do this-like 'your hero'- rand paul- who by the way claims to be something he is not... but that's okay, isn't it?).
    Please, no more questions...

    January 22, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. simplyput

    @Anon "My, my. So many experts posting here as the qualifications of Wendy Davis and the 'intelligence' of Texans.
    ====================
    Yea, we like to balance the check-book in Texas; something dems haven't mastered, and never will. Wish I was part of the CNN collective too.

    January 22, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The furor over Christie indicates how freakin' scared the democrats are of him, and what he can do to end their rule in the White House."

    I've said it once and I'll say it again: Christie was never going to become President of the United States. Not in 2016. Not ever. For the future sake of the GOP, I'm glad this information came out now rather than early 2016. Should all the allegations prove false, he still has a chance to rebuild his image in New Jersey (and that of the GOP nationally).

    Should she fall off her pedestal, Wendy Davis is not going to take the Democrats down with her.

    January 22, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Dear Ms. Davis: The first thing that came to my mind when I heard about Chris Christie's allegations was: Who will be the Republicans' new target to diffuse attention from their Only Great Hope? Sorry, they chose you but, at the same, time we have to wonder why they picked a woman... Poor Republicans, they cannot deny who they are: blind, misogynist and... losing. The next question is: who will be pilloried next, to cover for Virginia's Republican golden boy's fall from grace? Let's wait and see. As for you, just forge ahead scaring the living daylights out of the Republican Boy's Club.

    January 22, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Wake up People!

    Wow, is this the same ex-husband she bled dry and used until she had finally gotten on her feet?? Yeah he sounds really bitter. Almost as bitter as the RWNJ's that hate any woman that's not a Stepford wife.

    January 22, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Wes

    I would be a capable governor. Most anyone would. In Texas the lt. Governor is a much more involved roll. The governor gets a bigger check and less responsibility. That being said... She will lose and I will gladly vote against her like I did in the last state Senate elections.

    January 22, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Perry took government stimulus money earmarked for jobs, and used it to pay down his state debt. Typical gooper.

    January 22, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -simplyput

    @Anon "My, my. So many experts posting here as the qualifications of Wendy Davis and the 'intelligence' of Texans.
    ====================
    Yea, we like to balance the check-book in Texas; something dems haven't mastered, and never will. Wish I was part of the CNN collective too.
    *********************
    Yes, you balanced it retroactively with 17 billion dollars in Federal Stim money. Did you forget that little fact, or is that one of the results of Perry's Reign of Error in gutting public education? You sound happy to be of the FOX hive mind.

    January 22, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  20. IA

    Just dust...blowin in the wind. Gone before you know it. And Wake Up People.... You're ignorance is coming through loud and clear.....Stepford wives, RWNJs???? Lovely sentiments from low IQ participants.

    January 22, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -simplyput

    Very capable governor of what? Her opponent, Greg Abbot, has a BBA in FINANCE to go along with the law degree, years in justice, 30 year marriage, solid Catholic, etc. Go windy!
    ******************
    According to the GOP's standards, he's an elitist snob, with 2 degrees and years in government service. If he were a Democrat, you would be slamming him for being out of touch, but, since he's been signing death warrants in violation of Catholic teachings on the death penalty, he's golden.

    January 22, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Ol' Yeller

    "Yea, we like to balance the check-book in Texas"

    There are three things we like to do in Texas... we like to balance the check-book, we like to make fun of wimmin, and we like to ummm, we like... er... we ummm...
    Yea, I can't remember thet other thang we lahk to do.
    Ooops.

    Yeah, I'm not far from Texas... I know exactly what you like to do in TX. If you are a woman, a minorty, or a sheep, I'd stay as far from Texas as possible.

    January 22, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Silence DoGood

    "Sounds like a ruthlessly aggressive person............."
    --------
    If this were a conservative man, he would be getting praise for being strong and decisive. Sexist conservatives real issue is a strong woman standing up for women's civil liberties. Why do they lie to us about their agenda?

    January 22, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. cumulus

    Balancing the checkbooks: using Obama money to do it, you just can't see how pathetic you are, can you?

    January 22, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. just spraying

    Balance the checkbook: yup, Texas style, use Obama money go do it, what a loser!

    January 22, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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