Shouts and chants filled the chamber of a special session of the Texas Senate as the clock neared midnight. For 13 hours a Democratic senator from Fort Worth -- Wendy Davis -- had held sway over the legislative session in a filibuster designed to block a controversial anti-abortion bill.
At about 11:45 p.m., the Republican majority was trying to force a vote before the deadline passed. The only thing stopping them was the gallery, packed with opponents who began chanting so loudly and so persistently that taking a vote was difficult at best.
Midnight passed and the Senate had not adjourned. At first, several Senate staffers said the legislation passed in a 17-12 vote, reflected on the Senate website.
An hour later, Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst conceded the vote came too late, and Davis’ grassroots filibuster had succeeded.
The filibuster riveted national attention. More than 100,000 people were watching the Texas Tribune’s live-stream of the session, and the hashtag #standwithwendy was trending all day and all night Tuesday and well into Wednesday morning.
Even louder screaming from the gallery as the clock strikes midnight. #SB5 #txlege— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) June 26, 2013
Have seen nothing like this in #txlege in 22 years. Not even close. Waiting for someone to yell “Attica."— Evan Smith (@evanasmith) June 26, 2013
It’s officially over, #SB5 did not receive Senate approval— Becca Aaronson (@becca_aa) June 26, 2013
I FEEL HONORED JUST TO HAVE WITNESSED WHAT HAPPENED TONIGHT— Amber Eeeeeee (@rare_basement) June 26, 2013
After a brief celebration from Davis’ supporters, confusion erupted when news organizations, including the Associated Press, reported that the bill had passed.
BREAKING: Republicans pass new restrictions expected to close almost every abortion clinic in Texas.— The Associated Press (@AP) June 26, 2013
The official Senate computer says there was a vote, 17-12 to pass #sb5 #txlege Dems say it was after midnight— ChrisTomlinson (@cltomlinson) June 26, 2013
What?? “@AP: BREAKING: Republicans pass new restrictions expected to close almost every abortion clinic in Texas.”— Shaun Norton (@ShaunNorton) June 26, 2013
Huh? Who else is confused? RT @AP: BREAKING: Republicans pass new restrictions expected to close almost every abortion clinic in Texas.— Leslie Aguilar (@LeslieAguilarTV) June 26, 2013
This https://t.co/avi8ESiGQ0 + This https://t.co/WxtgPXGXSr = even the AP has no idea what is going on. #txlege— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) June 26, 2013
Still uncertain if a vote on #SB5 happened before midnight. Senators still on floor.— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) June 26, 2013
People following on Twitter began grabbing screenshots of the Texas Senate results page:
Screenshots of the official Texas Senate #SB5 results page: Before - https://t.co/3zRhQhjmpr After - https://t.co/zwBVrUpRHH— Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) June 26, 2013
Tweets and Vine videos captured images of Davis supporters swarming the Senate hall.
Intense Vine from inside the senate hall. “Hell no we won’t go!” https://t.co/uA9CSaef6p #SB5— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) June 26, 2013
@MatthewKeysLive this is the rotunda https://t.co/DY4r4soG3L— Max Croes (@CroesFire) June 26, 2013
At 12:22 p.m. local time, smack in the middle of the chaos, a tweet came from the office of California Gov. Jerry Brown. “Bold, bipartisan vote from the Senate tonight.” About 15 minutes later, Brown removed the tweet and sent a follow-up to clarify he was referring to the California senate.
Bold, bipartisan vote from the California Senate tonight.— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) June 26, 2013
With Twittersphere focused on Texas abortion drama, Brown had to reissue enterprise zone tweet to clarify he was talking about CA senate.— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) June 26, 2013
Then, close to 1 a.m. in Austin, confirmation came.
It’s officially official, #SB5 did not pass; Senators on the floor to make public announcement soon #txlege— Becca Aaronson (@becca_aa) June 26, 2013
Senate filibuster officially ends at 2:38 am. #sb5 is dead. #txlege— Christy Hoppe (@ChristyHoppe) June 26, 2013
Breaking: Texas lt. gov. reverses himself, declares vote on tough #SB5 abortion bill came too late to pass. @AP— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) June 26, 2013
11hrs of constant talking w/ no food, water, bathroom break, sitting, or leaning. I don’t know how @WendyDavisTexas did it. #standwithwendy— Karen James (@kejames) June 26, 2013
In her first tweet once the result became official, Wendy Davis declared victory.
Thanks to the powerful voices of thousands of Texans, #SB5 is dead. An incredible victory for Texas women and those who love them.— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) June 26, 2013
Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, meanwhile, declared that a battle was ahead.
I pledge to Texas one thing: this fight is far from over. #txlege #sb5— David Dewhurst (@DavidHDewhurst) June 26, 2013
Supporters of Davis who didn’t see the conclusion of the events woke up to the news that the grassroots filibuster had worked.
Just woke up. Holy cow. It worked. The filibuster worked. #SB5 didn’t pass. #StandWithWendy— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) June 26, 2013