Vol 33, Issue 31 Print Issue

Wendy Davis Working to Help Win the U.S. House for Democrats

Former state Sen. Wendy Davis getting ready for a television interview inside of the Wells Fargo Center, site of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, on July 27, 2016.
Former state Sen. Wendy Davis getting ready for a television interview inside of the Wells Fargo Center, site of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, on July 27, 2016.

Former state Sen. Wendy Davis has been hitting the trail for U.S. House candidates as Democrats aim to make a dent in the Republican majority this fall.

A senior Capitol Hill Democratic aide who was not authorized to speak on the record first tipped off the Tribune of the effort, which a Davis spokesman confirmed.

House Democrats need to capture 30 seats to take back the gavel. It's a tall order that few seriously think is possible, even as Republican nominee Donald Trump's favorability ratings are cratering nationwide. But Democrats are expecting at this point to make gains, possibly in the ballpark of a dozen seats.

As for Davis, she's proven to be an effective motivator of pro-choice female activists and voters beyond the state. The Hillary Clinton campaign deployed her to campaign on the former secretary of state's behalf in over a dozen states over the course of this presidential campaign.

The Davis camp said this angle of campaigning came at the request of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democrats' House campaign political arm.


"In addition to being an official surrogate for Secretary Clinton, Wendy has been asked by the DCCC to campaign for Congressional candidates across the United States," said her spokesman Hector Nieto. He added that her interest was in stopping "the gridlock that has plagued Washington D.C. and become synonymous with the do-nothing Republican majority."

The surrogacy could pay off down the road for Davis. The former Forth Worth state senator relocated to Austin earlier this year. She recently told the Tribune that if redistricting or retirements created a local U.S. House seat, she would seriously consider a bid.


The special prosecutors handling the securities fraud indictments against Attorney General Ken Paxton are urging the state's highest criminal court not to consider the case.

Paxton last week asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to throw out the charges against him, which allege he misled investors in private business dealing from before his time as attorney general. The appeal represents Paxton's last stand to get the case dismissed before it heads to trial.

In a filing Tuesday, the special prosecutors argued the court should not take up the case in what is known as "discretionary review." The prosecutors, Kent Schaffer and Brian Wice, released a statement separate from the filing.

"The Court of Criminal Appeals grants less than 4% of all petitions for discretionary review filed by criminal defendants," the statement said. "Our reply makes it clear that Mr. Paxton’s petition is not one of them."

A Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton more than a year ago on two first-degree felony charges and one third-degree felony charge. He has pleaded not guilty.



A third candidate has entered the race for chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party. Longtime activist Davin Bernstein announced Tuesday he is running, branding himself as the only candidate who can unite the party.

"I have decided to join the race because we need someone who will represent ALL Republicans in Dallas County, and I do not see that candidate yet," Bernstein wrote in a letter to precinct chairs. "I value the insights and judgments of both declared candidates and consider them friends, but do not feel they can best unify and represent the entire DCRP in the tasks ahead."

Bernstein has served as a precinct chair, a Republican Club president and a county volunteer.

He is up against Elizabeth Bingham, the former vice chair of the party, and Phillip Huffines, a businessman who is the brother of state Sen. Don Huffines. They are vying to replace Mark Montgomery, who abruptly resigned last week.

Huffines on Thursday moved to put the kibosh on his rivals' chances, announcing he had pledges of support from "well over" the 96 precinct chairs required to win the contest for chairman at the party's Monday meeting. He named 61 of those backers in his announcement.