Ruling out a run for either lieutenant governor or U.S.
Senate, state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, said Monday she will run for
governor or re-election to the Texas Senate in 2014. A decision is expected by
"I can say with absolute certainty I will run for one of two offices -- either my state Senate seat or governor," said Davis in answer to a question after delivering a speech at a National Press Club luncheon that described her own personal journey from single mother at 19, subsisting on 99-cent frozen pizzas, to being among the most talked-about figures in American politics.
Davis has been heralded as a potential Democratic candidate for governor of Texas since the moment she ended the June 25 filibuster that briefly blocked the Texas Senate from approving legislation, since signed by Gov. Rick Perry, that would restrict access to abortion in Texas.
Asked about her gubernatorial ambitions Monday, Davis said, "Well, a lot of people are asking me that question lately, as you can imagine, and I'm working very hard to decide what my next steps will be. I do think that in Texas people feel like we need a change from the very fractured, very partisan leadership that we're seeing in our state government right now."
"The voices that were heard in support of my filibuster that night are not the ones we usually hear amplified across the state of Texas," Davis said in her speech. "And I think a lot of people who live outside our state were surprised they even exist. But Texans know that the voices in our state that shout the loudest haven't often been the ones that speak for everyone."
Matt Angle, founder of the Lone Star Project, which works to improve Democratic prospects in Texas, said Davis would have to raise $30 to $40 million to run a competitive race for governor and that he thinks she can do it.
Former Texas congressman Martin Frost, who was a leading force among House Democrats and in Texas Democratic politics, said he had encouraged Davis to run for governor.
"If she runs," he said, "it will be the marquee race in the country in 2014."
Raising $30 million to $40 million is a tall order, especially in an election cycle in which Democrats nationally face difficult races to hold a half dozen or more Senate seats now in Democratic hands.
But Frost pointed out that the Senate campaigns are subject to federal fundraising limits of $2,600 per individual contributor per election, limits that don't apply to Texas state races. Frost said he would encourage Democratic donors to give the limit in those Senate contests, and then give an even bigger donation to Davis.
State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, among Davis' invited guests to the luncheon, said she would make a formidable statewide candidate, noting that her Fort Worth Senate district is a microcosm of the state.
"The district that I represent actually wasn't drawn for a Democrat, but the people I represent are a lot more interested in seeing problems solved than they are in partisan labels," Davis said.
After her remarks, Davis was asked about the prospect of Gov. Rick Perry making another run for president in 2016.
"I have three responses to that," she said, dead-pan. "I think that's all I'm going to say."
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