Wendy Davis Announces Run For Texas Governor

As expected, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis has announced that she’s running for Texas Governor in 2014:

HALTOM CITY, Texas — Democrat Wendy Davis promised a more populist and bipartisan state government in Texas as she declared her long-anticipated candidacy for governor Thursday, but she didn’t mention abortion rights, the subject that brought her to national attention.

Speaking before a hometown crowd where she received her high school diploma, the Fort Worth state senator tried to stake out the middle ground, vowing to represent the working class and improve public education, economic development and health care to Texas.

“Texans don’t want to sit back and watch Austin turn into Washington, D.C.,” Davis said. “State leaders in power keep forcing people to opposite corners to prepare for a fight instead of coming together to get things done.”

Davis has said that her experience going from being a single teen mother living in a trailer to a successful Harvard-trained attorney in the Texas Senate informed her political views. She said Texas needed to be “a lot less lone and a lot more star.”

“Until the families who are burning the candle at both ends can finally make ends meet, we will keep going. Until the amazing health care advances being pioneered in this state reach everyone who needs them, we will keep going,” she said to about 1,500 people at the Wiley G. Thomas Coliseum.

Davis then blasted “the current leadership” in Austin for creating a partisan atmosphere and appealing to the right wing of the Republican party.

“Texans deserve better than failed leaders who dole out favors to friends and cronies behind closed doors,” she said. “It’s time for a governor who believes that you don’t have to buy a place in Texas’ future. It’s time for a governor who believes that the future of Texas belongs to all of us.”

Republican Gov. Rick Perry has chosen not to seek re-election next year. The front-runner for the GOP nomination is Attorney General Greg Abbott, who said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday that Davis is too liberal for Texas.

The Fix has a post this morning laying out the reasons why Davis faces an uphill battle, to put it mildly:

1. Texas is still a conservative state.While demographic shifts driven by a growing Hispanic population have stoked Democrats’ optimism about turning Texas blue, it simply isn’t going to happen overnight. For the moment, Texas is very conservative territory. We’re talking about a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat statewide since 1994, a state with strong social conservative views, and one that gave Mitt Romney more than 57 percent of the vote in 2012. This is also the state that sent cast-iron conservative Ted Cruz to the U.S. Senate. Davis is a state senator who became a national figure following her marathon filibuster of abortion restrictions. While she will have the liberal base (both nationally and in Texas) solidly behind her and will raise millions of dollars, Davis will also have to confront a conservative base fired up to oppose her. The reality is that Texas is not a natural fit for the profile Davis has been cutting.

2. We’ve heard this story before. This isn’t the first time a Democrat has jumped into a statewide race in Texas and instantly attracted buzz. It happened when former Houston mayor Bill White challenged Gov. Rick Perry (R) in 2010. And when now-United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk made a bid for the Senate in 2002. And when oilman Tony Sanchez ran for governor that same year. It’s a pattern that has repeated itself over and over again during the past decade. Will Davis break the cycle? It’s possible. But recent history certainly isn’t on her side.

Additionally, as the post goes on to note, presumptive Republican nominee Greg Abbott has a united state GOP behind him and, already, some $20 million in the bank with more than a year to go before Election Day and Abbott has already started tying Davis to President Obama, who remains deeply unpopular in the Lone Star State. Given all of this the idea that Davis could actually win this race seems rather fanciful. Is it possible? Certainly, anything is possible and we don’t know how the race will pan out over the coming 13 months. However, given what we know it certainly doesn’t appear to be very likely.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Argon says:

    Greg Abbott. Mr. Voter ID. Kind of a Rick Perry with a brain, a deeply conservative, 10-Commandments sort of brain. Wendy has her work cut out for her in the dumb and dumber state of Texas politics.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Given all of this the idea that Davis could actually win this race seems rather fanciful.

    Which is why I continue to say, she has her eyes on a different prize. This is just table setting.

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    I don’t think she wins, or comes close (but I’ll be happy to be wrong). That said, I do think as Texas slowly turns into a more purple-ish state, races like this help to energize a base that has been pretty downtrodden for the past few decades. It helps to turn it from red to purple a little bit quicker.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    I’m pretty sure that she won’t get the Canadian-Cuban-American vote.

    I wish her all the best.
    Vaya con Buddha, Wendy.

  5. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Living in one of the most conservative parts of Texas (Aggieland), I know full well how Red this state is, but I am still jacked. My response to the announcement yesterday, from elsewhere:

    “The cynical part of me knows that Texas isn’t ready to go back to being purplish yet.

    The Community College teacher part of me is over the moon that someone who started out taking classes part-time at a CC, as a single mom, and used that to catapult herself into law school, is running for Governor.

    The rest of me still thinks that no matter the end result, the journey is going to be epic.”

  6. PJ says:

    Every journey starts with a first step.
    This won’t be the last step and it’s not the first either, but if you aren’t walking then you will never reach where you want to end up.

  7. Gustopher says:

    You can’t win without a credible candidate, and Wendy Davis seems to be that.

    It’s an uphill battle, and as Texas shifts to blue with demographics, the first few statewide Democratic victories are going to be uphill battles where there is suddenly an opening.

    Perhaps Abbott will be caught doing something stupid or disgusting?

  8. Pinky says:

    @al-Ameda: Racial snottiness always gets a pass when liberals do it.