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Where's Wendy? Texas Monthly's Paul Burka Weighs In on Davis Campaign

Wendy Davis made headlines earlier this year with her abortion rights filibuster heard around the nation. In September and October, she teased the Texas body politic with her gubernatorial guessing game.

After bursting into the race in early October with a big announcement in Fort Worth, the Davis campaign has hit the ground running, from Brownsville, to … Pharr, Texas?

So where’s Wendy Davis? That's what Paul Burka is asking.

The current dean of Texas political writers and senior executive editor at Texas Monthly, Burka sat down with KUT’s David Brown to discuss the Davis campaign. 


First up: why aren’t we seeing more of Wendy Davis on the stump?

“This is a race in which she needs to introduce herself to the state,” Burka says. “A lot of people know her, but a lot of people don’t. We don’t have much of an idea what her message is going to be, and I don’t think they've gotten to that point yet. But I do think it’s going to be very important for her to start talking about issues at some point.”

Burka adds that most new campaigns take time to decide on strategy – but these decisions need to be made early on.

“The Davis campaign has been slow to make those decisions,” he says. “There’s a ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ issue with them. There’s Battleground Texas, people from Washington and other Democratic groups that all want a piece of it.” And so the question is, how are they going to shape a campaign?

“For Davis, this means deciding what her issues are, what her strengths are and what her opponent’s weaknesses are,” Burka says.

“The ability to craft a message is really what campaigns are all about and so far, Davis hasn’t crafted a message and we don’t know what it would be. If she’s smart, which I think she is, she’ll stay away from the abortion issue, but you have to have a message. What I see a lot in these campaigns is you have a candidate with a personality, but they don't have a message.”

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
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