Will Wendy run?
That's the question many Texas Democrats—and Republicans—are asking after Wendy Davis, the 50-year-old state senator turned anti-abortion-bill-filibustering-star, said this week that she's raised nearly $1 million since her 12-hour stand on June 25.
“Somebody has to step up,” Davis said in a May interview published by Texas Monthly this week. “As long as the Democrats continue to buy into the same bull---- that some of the Republicans are saying—‘Oh no, it’s Texas, it’s hopeless’—and continue to act like it won’t happen for six, eight, twelve, sixteen years from now, that perpetuates the problem.”
Since her filibuster of the Republican bill, Democrats have been urging her to throw her now-famous pink running shoes (the one's she wore on the floor of the Texas Capitol) into the 2014 race to fill outgoing Governor Rick Perry's seat. Perry, who announced last week he will not seek re-election, slammed who slammed Davis' display.
“It is just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters," Perry said a day after the filibuster.
A Democrat has not won statewide office in Texas since 1994.
Davis has downplayed the gubernatorial talk, saying she's focused on reelection to the state Senate in her district. But she sounds like she's digging in for a bigger fight—and a bigger stage.
"I always stand out by the voting lines on Election Day," Davis told Texas Monthly two days after her filibuster. "And I can’t tell you how many people say, ‘I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my life, but I’m splitting my ticket for you.’ They’re more engaged and thoughtful than we give them credit for. And when I see the pandering by Governor Perry and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, it literally makes me sick to my stomach. Because it demonstrates that they believe voters are stupid.”
In an op-ed published Monday in the Washington Post, Davis wrote:
The filibuster was more than organized opposition or even endurance—it was an expression of mainstream Texans standing up against partisan power-mongers who no longer act in Texas’ best interest or even tell Texans the truth.
... The filibuster was a means to continue the fight and stand up to Republican leaders. That fight is not a new one for me. As a senator from the only true swing district in the Texas Senate, I’ve been targeted by the GOP for my outspoken criticism of their extremist attacks on public education and voting rights, to name just two examples. My nearly 13-hour stand against the effort to deny women access to basic health care evolved into a people’s filibuster opposing a selfish and out-of-touch leadership that refuses to listen to real families with real hopes.
Texas really is the greatest state in the greatest nation. Texans—and women all over the country— deserve leaders that care, that listen and that work to protect their interests. The people’s filibuster demonstrated that Texans—and women everywhere—are ready and willing to fight back.
“She has revived a moribund party, given Democrats a sense of enthusiasm and optimism," Rice University political scientist Mark P. Jones told Time magazine earlier this month. "But whether that can be transformed to success at the polls is another question.”