Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis of Texas speaks at a National Press Club… (Olivier Douliery / MCT )
SAN FRANCISCO -- Wendy Davis, who rocketed to overnight political celebrity by temporarily blocking passage of antiabortion legislation in Texas, said Friday she was “very, very seriously considering” an uphill run next year for governor.
Speaking to an audience of about 300 female activists and donors -- who cheered the mere mention of a Davis candidacy -- the Democratic state senator said, “It’s about time that we have a general election conversation” that dispels the notion of Texas as a right-wing fortress.
“That’s not who we are,” said Davis, who suggested that artful drawing of the state’s political boundaries by conservative Republicans had muffled the voices of women, minorities and others who tend to vote for Democrats.
Asked moments later by an audience member whether she intended to seek the governorship, Davis drew whoops and applause by saying she was weighing the possibility. Part of the process, she said, is assessing whether the race is “a winnable one.”
“When you ask people to invest their time, their energy and their financial resources in you, you want to make sure that you’re asking them to do something that’s achievable,” Davis said.
She gave no timetable for a decision. Davis has already ruled out seeking another statewide office, saying that if she did not run for governor, she would seek reelection to her Fort Worth state Senate seat.
Davis gained instant fame in June when she conducted an 11-hour filibuster that prevented the GOP-led Senate from passing legislation restricting abortion in Texas. Although the measure ultimately passed, her effort invigorated Democrats nationwide and led to an outpouring of financial and other support for Davis.
She appeared Friday in San Francisco at a fundraising luncheon hosted by Emily’s List, a Democratic organization that seeks to promote women in politics.
For all the enthusiasm surrounding her prospective candidacy, Davis would start the contest as a decided underdog. Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott, the GOP front-runner, has raised more than $20 million for the race and is running on far more hospitable terrain. Republicans have swept more than 100 straight statewide elections; Democrats have not won a Texas gubernatorial contest since 1990.