Politics

09.26.13

Wendy Davis Is (Probably) Running for Texas Governor

Remember: Ted Cruz isn’t the only Texan who knows how to filibuster. Wendy Davis is gearing up for a big announcement next week—and sources say she’s in the race. Caroline Linton reports.

Wendy Davis is asking her supporters to sign up to “be one of the first to know” if she’s running for Texas governor in 2014.

So is she or isn’t she? Davis and her campaign have publicly announced the state senator will be making an official announcement on October 3. But the Associated Press, Reuters, and Politico all reported Thursday that Davis is quietly letting supporters know that she’s running.

Davis’s team refuses to make any official comment before next week, though Davis consultant Hector Nieto said the state senator has made up her mind. “She looks forward to making that decision public on October 3,” Nieto told The Daily Beast.

Davis sprang into the spotlight in June, when she filibustered for 11 hours to kill a delay a bill that would have closed down most of Texas’s abortion clinics. Gov. Rick Perry later called a special session of the legislature to push the bill forward, and it ended up passing.

But it was enough to catapult Davis into the national spotlight and raise immediate speculation about statewide office. She raised nearly $1 million in the last two weeks of June alone, and a month after the epic filibuster, she headlined a swanky D.C. fundraiser. Emily’s List, a national organization that raises money for women Democratic candidates, has already set up a fundraising page for Davis and frequently tweets in support of her.

Davis initially said she would announce her decision about running in the beginning of September, but she had to pull back due to her father’s ill health. (He died on September 5.) She’s now set October 3 as her big announcement date, but she’s already started fundraising for the big announcement. Her fundraising forms say she is hoping to raise $80,000 by the end of the month.

While there are more Republicans than Democrats in Texas, the state’s rising Hispanic population has caused Democrats to think twice about the state—especially given the national Republican Party’s immigration policies.

Anybody can win any race, but she starts out pretty far behind.

It’s an uphill battle for any Democrat to win in Texas, no matter how much national attention Davis has gotten. Her presumptive Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, has already raised nearly $21 million. Davis has been trailing Abbott in statewide polls.

“Anybody can win any race, but she starts out pretty far behind,” said Texas political consultant Bill Miller. “I know her, I like her, and I told her in person that I don’t think she could beat Abbott.”

“Davis needs to run a perfect campaign,” said political strategist Mark McKinnon, who is also a contributor to The Daily Beast. “And Abbott will need to make mistakes. Both are possible. That’s why they go ahead and have elections. She won’t get great odds in Vegas, but then again, neither did Ann Richards.”

Her office said Thursday that she would be making her big announcement in Haltom City, Texas, at the same auditorium where she received her high school diploma—not likely to be a place where she will announce disappointing news.