Sign up for the Essential California newsletter to get great stories delivered to your inbox
Nation National Politics Politics Now

Wendy Davis set to announce run for Texas governor at pep-style rally

After weeks of buildup, Democrat Wendy Davis is set to launch an uphill bid for Texas governor Thursday with a pep-style rally outside Fort Worth.

Davis, 50, a two-term state senator, has built a national following via social media. She sent a Twitter message on Wednesday inviting supporters to her announcement and urging them to “wear comfortable shoes and the colors of the Texas flag (red, white and blue).”

Davis became a national political celebrity in June after leading a filibuster that temporarily blocked passage of strict anti-abortion legislation. She had been talked about for years as a possible candidate for governor, as Democrats struggle to snap a long losing streak in state elections. Her overnight fame catapulted Davis to the party’s fore and helped her collect $1 million in contributions in just a few weeks.

But she will need to raise much more to compete with the frontrunner, Republican state Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott, who is a heavy favorite and already has banked more than $23 million. The two are running to succeed Republican Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, who is stepping aside as he eyes another run for president in 2016.

LIVE UPDATES: Day three of the shutdown

Davis’ announcement was scheduled for Thursday afternoon at a rally at the Haltom City arena where she received her high school diploma. Part of Davis' political appeal has been her compelling personal story. A struggling single mother who lived for a time in a trailer park, she went on to earn a Harvard law degree before twice winning election in a highly competitive Fort Worth-area district.

Still, she begins the governor’s race as a considerable underdog. Democrats have lost more than 100 straight statewide elections in Texas and have not elected a governor since 1990.

“She’s running under the banner of a party that starts off with, at a minimum, a 10-point disadvantage in statewide races,” said James Henson, who directs the Texas Politics project at the University of Texas in Austin. Davis will not only have to run a near-flawless campaign to win, he said; she needs some luck, too.

“There is no silver bullet,” Henson said. “A lot of things have to happen.”

Follow Politics Now on Twitter and Facebook

Twitter: @markzbarabak

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content