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Will Wendy Davis Run For Governor? Expect Some News This Week

Texas Tribune
Sen. Wendy Davis in the Texas Senate.

Political advisors to State Senator Wendy Davis say the Fort Worth Democrat will have an update on her possible run for governor as early as this week.

  Davis delayed her decision so she could be with her ailing father, Jerry Russell, who died just over a week ago.

It’s been almost two decades since a Democrat has held a statewide seat in Texas, and political analysts like Cal Jillson at SMU don’t think Wendy Davis can alter that trend.

“The Republicans have had a very steady eight to 12 to 16 point advantage.  And the fact that she made a wonderful filibuster speech and is potentially an attractive candidate doesn’t close a 15 point gap,” said Jillson.     

But the fame that has followed Davis’ filibuster of an abortion bill has led to lucrative fundraisers and packed rallies.

Now some hungry Democrats are thinking maybe, just maybe, Davis could beat the odds and become Governor.

Political strategist Matt Angle, a key advisor to Davis, is urging her to run.

“I believe that now is the time for Senator Davis,” said Angle who started the Lone Star Project, a political action committee that’s working to elect Texas Democrats.

Angle says Davis’ star is red-hot right now and she shouldn’t wait for the Democratic surge that is supposed to accompany a growing Hispanic population.

“If you are sitting around waiting for it to be apparent that a Democrat can win you could wait a long time, “said Angle. 

“You’ve got to force the issue a little bit.  And Senator Davis is, I think, right now in a unique position, and is a unique person to build the kind of coalition that is needed,” he said.

Angle served as chief-of-staff to former Congressman Martin Frost, one of the Democratic Party’s most prolific fundraisers.  Angle believes Davis could raise the $40 million she’d need to be competitive against a Republican like Greg Abbott.

He says the GOP has also given the Fort Worth senator an opening by alienating some moderate Republicans and independents.

“One Republican after another- from Ted Cruz to Rick Perry to Greg Abbott- have moved so extremely far to the right edge that they have opened up the middle.  They have opened up the place in the middle of the political spectrum where most Texans live for Democrats to get a fair hearing from the public.” Angle said.

Republican Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign seems poised for Davis to jump in.  Last week Abbott advisor Dave Carney tweeted that Davis, a Harvard-trained lawyer, is “too stupid” to be governor.

That only served to further rev-up the Davis supporters, who will soon know if it’s game on.

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.