By Jay Root
Wendy Davis burst into the national political consciousness this summer as a feminist folk hero. She was a titan in pink tennis shoes, a single mother who became a lawyer, stood up to the Republican boys club and, against all odds, temporarily halted enactment of a restrictive abortion bill.
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Last week, a different side of the Democratic state senator emerged: the devoted daughter of an ailing father, Jerry Russell, who is well known in Fort Worth theater circles but isn’t mentioned in her compelling campaign biography. Her mother, a sixth grade dropout who made do without child support, is the one who figures prominently in the back story that inspires Davis’ followers.
As it turns out, Davis’ story is more complicated and nuanced than legend would have it. That is not altogether surprising. Getting to know people, even famous ones, takes time. But Davis — whose moribund party badly needs a superstar — rode a filibuster into the political stratosphere, and now her supporters are all but forcing her to run for Texas governor.