HOUSTON — Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator whose filibuster in June against an abortion bill backed by the state’s powerful Republicans catapulted her to national political prominence, has told supporters and potential donors that she plans to announce next week that she will run for governor, according to Democrats in Texas and Washington.
Davis’ decision has the potential to turn the race to determine Gov. Rick Perry’s successor into a rare competitive showdown between long-suffering Texas Democrats and the Republican conservatives who have ruled state politics for decades. She would enter the race as a substantial underdog, but her candidacy would represent the most serious challenge to the Republican lock on the office - most recently held by Perry and George W. Bush - since the party began its winning streak in governor’s races in 1994. That year Bush defeated the incumbent, Ann W. Richards.
For weeks, Davis’ travels to Washington, her speeches, meetings with potential supporters and public statements have suggested her intentions.
On her Twitter feed on Thursday she wrote: “A week from today, I’m announcing something big. Can you chip in now to show the strength of our grassroots network?”
Last week, she emailed supporters, telling them that she would answer the question about her political future next Thursday and that she was “excited about what we can do together in the future.” The Democratic Governors Association, meanwhile, has been running on the home page of its website a banner headline reading “Wendy’s Big News.”
A spokesman said Thursday only that she had made a decision, and that the decision would be revealed next week. Matt Angle, a longtime adviser to Davis and the director of the Lone Star Project, a Democratic policy group, said he was looking forward to her decision, adding, “All of us believe that Wendy deserves the right to make that announcement herself.” Until she makes that announcement there is no guarantee what her final decision will be.
But, absent an official announcement, people involved in Republican and Democratic politics said word had spread in Austin of her intention to run and that some of the organizational planning and machinery for her campaign was already being put into place. Her campaign would be based in Fort Worth, which she has represented in the state Senate. Davis’ Republican rival seems likely to be Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general.