Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, who tried to block Governor Rick Perry’s abortion curbs in June, will lay out her 2014 election plans next week amid expectations that she’ll run for the office Perry is leaving.
Davis, a Democrat whose half-day filibuster of a bill to limit abortion in Texas drew national attention, has told donors she plans to run, according to Politico.com and the Associated Press. Both cited sources they didn’t identify.
Her announcement will be made outside of her Fort Worth district, in an arena where she received her high school diploma, fueling the expectations.
“I don’t think she’s invited millions of her closest friends to a meeting on Oct. 3 to announce her re-election” to the state Senate, said State Representative Lon Burnam, a Fort Worth Democrat.
With no other Democrats in the hunt for the governor’s office, Davis would likely face Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott in next year’s final vote. Abbott announced his candidacy in July. He has raised more than $20 million for his bid to succeed Perry, a Republican who isn’t seeking re-election after 14 years in office.
Davis’s interest in the governor’s race has “been called the worst-kept secret in Texas,” said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, an abortion-rights group that helped organize support for the filibuster. “My gut feeling is she is running.”
Bill Miller, a lobbyist in Austin with HillCo Partners, said abortion activists will use lawsuits to keep the issue in front of voters as the campaign progresses. “It’s all part of a bigger strategy,” he said.
Hector Nieto, a Davis spokesman, wouldn’t comment on the reports. Davis, 50, said yesterday in a statement that her announcement would take place in Haltom City outside Fort Worth.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said Davis hasn’t told him of her intentions. No other Democrats have expressed interest in running, he said.
“She will need strong party backing to be successful,” he said. No Democrat has won a statewide elective office in Texas for almost 20 years, Hinojosa said.
Perry, 63, ascended from the lieutenant governorship to the top job in December 2000 when George W. Bush resigned the post after winning the U.S. presidency. Perry won full four-year terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
After failing in his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Perry’s decision not to seek another governor’s term has fueled speculation he’ll make another White House bid in 2016.