The PJ Tatler

Wendy Davis Campaign Shake-Up

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis rose to fame by taking an extreme position on abortion. Her campaign hires signaled that she would run as what she is — a leftwing Democrat. One of those hires, Zac Petkanis, came to Davis from partisan Democrat Sen. Harry Reid’s staff. Another, Karin Johanson, has spent about three decades working for far-left causes.

To no one’s surprise but Davis’, running as a far-left prog in Texas isn’t working. Republican Greg Abbott leads in the governor’s race by double digits.

Today, the Austin-American Statesman reports that Johanson is out. She is being replaced by a Democrat from Texas who might actually understand a thing or two about running races here, state Rep. Chris Turner.

Johanson, a Washington, D.C.-based consultant with three decades of experience in Democratic politics, arrived at Davis’ campaign in October with a long resumé and a reputation as one of the nation’s top grassroots organizers and strategists. Johanson’s accomplishments include serving as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 cycle and as political director of EMILY’s List in the 1990s. She also led the successful 2012 campaign of Sen. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin.

Turner’s campaign experience might not be as extensive [as Johanson’s], but he, too, has worked on his share of political contests. Turner, D-Fort Worth, won a seat for himself in the Texas House in 2008 and then lost it in 2010. He later won it back in 2012 and has prevailed in the 2014 Democratic primary.

Before his own races, Turner worked for U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, a moderate Democrat and fiscal conservative from Waco.

Turner had signed on as the congressman’s district director for a time and served as his campaign manager in 2002, 2004 and 2006, according to the non-partisan election website Project Vote Smart.

Republican Bill Flores knocked Edwards out in 2010. Flores articulated conservative principles, strongly opposed Obama’s policies, and reminded voters that Edwards was among the first Democrats to endorse Barack Obama. There was nothing moderate about that, and voters fired Chet Edwards.

Davis’ move is probably meant to show that she’s going to move more to the middle. It might also be intended to show that she doesn’t actually despise the voters that she needs to support her, despite her having made a couple of anti-Texas statements to her supporters. Davis has been spending an awful lot of time campaigning and fundraising outside Texas, in far-left cities like San Francisco.

But Davis is still keeping Harry Reid’s guy around, and she is still what she is —  a far-left prog who is out of touch with Texas. Swapping campaign managers doesn’t change any of that. If Davis really wanted to show that she’s in line with Texas values, she wouldn’t hire people like Johanson and Petkanas in the first place. And she wouldn’t insult Texans while trying to impose far-left policies here.