Texas GOPer defends Wendy Davis against attacks from Rush Limbaugh and the right

"If this involved a man running for office, none of this would ever come up," said a former GOP colleague

Published January 22, 2014 10:00PM (EST)

Wendy Davis                   (AP/Eric Gay)
Wendy Davis (AP/Eric Gay)

Texas Democrat and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has been on the defensive lately after a report in the Dallas Morning News uncovered her fudging the details of her biography.

They are, in brief:

    • Davis had claimed she was divorced at 19, but the Morning News found that she was divorced at 21.
    • Davis has implied she spent significant time earlier in her life living in a trailer, but the Morning News found that she spent "only" months living in such conditions.
    • Davis also downplayed the role her former husband played in raising their children and helping to finance her education at Texas Christian University and Harvard Law.

Unsurprisingly, some far-right conservatives in the media have responded to the Morning News' revelations with outright glee.

Erick Erickson of Red State and Fox News tweeted, referring to Davis' ex-husband, that the Texas Democrat, whom he'd previously called "abortion Barbie," had a "sugar daddy Ken." Ben Shapiro of Breitbart said Davis had "abandoned her children." Rush Limbaugh  said on his radio show that Davis was "a genuine head case" and a "fake."

But not all Republicans have taken pleasure in Davis' misstep. One former local Texas GOP politician, in fact, has argued that Davis would not be receiving such vitriolic attention from some on the right if she were a man.

Speaking with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Becky Haskins, a former GOP colleague of Davis' when she served on the Fort Worth City Council, said, "If this involved a man running for office, none of this would ever come up."

“It’s so sad," Haskins continued. "Every time I ran, somebody said I needed to be home with my kids. Nobody ever talks about men being responsible parents."

But Haskins saw the silver lining, too: "They wouldn’t be talking about Wendy if she weren’t a threat."

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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