Wendy Davis to announce gubernatorial decision Oct. 3

Posted Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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After weeks of pondering which office to seek, Fort Worth Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis will announce on Oct. 3 whether she’s running for governor.

“There’s one question I’ve gotten quite often in the past few months,” Davis wrote in an email to supporters. “What’s next?

“On Oct. 3, I’ll be answering that question,” she wrote. “I truly appreciate all the work that you — my grassroots team — have done for me thus far. And I’m excited about what we can do together in the future.”

The question at hand is whether she will run for re-election in Senate District 10 or for governor.

Shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, Davis imposed a 9 a.m. Wednesday embargo on her announcing that she will make her announcement on Oct. 3. But news spread quickly via social media, and before long, The Associated Press formally broke the embargo by publishing a story. Shortly after that, the Davis campaign lifted the embargo.

Republicans say Davis doesn’t have a chance of winning the gubernatorial race; Democrats admit it’s an unlikely uphill battle.

“I hope she does run,” GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak recently wrote. “I like it when Democrats who cannot win run for office.”

Democrats maintain that Davis — who gained nationwide fame from a June filibuster that temporarily prevented a comprehensive abortion bill from passing, although the GOP-led Senate passed the measure a few weeks later — has star-power, can help spur other Democrats to run for statewide offices and can motivate voters to turn out in the next election. They hope her candidacy will at least give them a shot at regaining a statewide office for the first time since 1994.

“For the first time since Ann Richards, Texas Democrats have a leader,” Democratic consultant Jason Stanford wrote on his blog earlier this year. “No one in the history of this country has ever run for office because it was right for his or her family, but if Sen. Davis decides against a statewide campaign she could erase recent gains. If she says she doesn't believe the fight is worth her time, she could cause Texas Democrats to believe once again in the paucity of hope.

“You don't raise an army if you're not going into battle. Sen. Davis did not ask to be a savior. But tag, she's it.”

Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced earlier this year that he was not seeking a record fourth term in office, opening the door for other Texans to seek the post — particularly GOP frontrunner Greg Abbott, the state’s attorney general.

Other Republicans have announced they are in the race, including former Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Pauken, but no Democrats have thrown their hat in the ring.

A twice-divorced lawyer, Davis has told her story about once being a single mom living in a trailer park and ultimately working her way through college and ultimately Harvard Law School.

Since the June filibuster, Davis gained national and international attention, appeared on news broadcasts throughout the county and even in a Taiwanese animation, as well as speaking at fundraisers and high-profile speaking engagements, such as before The National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Davis had planned to announce her plans earlier this monthbut she delayed any announcement after her father — Jerry Russell, founder and director of Fort Worth’s Stage West — ended up in the hospital in critical condition. Russell died Sept. 5 of complications from abdominal surgery.

Davis — whose roots are deeply entrenched in Tarrant County, one of the most Republican areas in one of the most Republican states in the country — has reported having millions of dollars in her campaign coffers, including more than $1 million she received in the six weeks after her filibuster.

Abbott has already said he has around $21 million in his war chest.

If Davis runs for governor, a number of candidates likely will step forward to run for the Texas Senate District 10 post Davis has represented since 2009.

Four Republicans have already announced they are running for the post — Konni Burton, Mark Shelton, Mark Skinner and Tony Pompa — whether or not Davis is in it. A number of Democrats, such as Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns and former Fort Worth Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks, could potentially join the race as well.

The month-long registration period for next year’s primary begins Nov. 9.

Anna Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley

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