AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — State Sen. Wendy Davis will make a formal announcement about running for governor Oct. 3, her campaign said late Tuesday in a news release.
Davis planned to send an email to supporters and post an announcement on social media sites early today. The email will ask supporters to encourage others to join an email list to learn more about the campaign, but stop short of confirming that a campaign has already begun, according to an advance copy.
“I truly appreciate all the work that you — my grassroots team — have done for me thus far. And I’m excited about what we can do together in the future,” the email says.
The announcement is aimed at regaining the momentum lost when Davis stepped out of the spotlight to care for her dying father, explained a supporter close to the campaign on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The timing indicates Davis intends to run for governor and wants to use a prolonged announcement to raise funds before formally declaring her candidacy.
For months Democrats have urged Davis to run for governor, after she gained international attention for a nearly 13-hour filibuster against new restrictions on abortions in Texas. Her filibuster forced Gov. Rick Perry to call a second special session, when the Republican-controlled Legislature easily passed the measures.
Davis’ progressive politics and charisma on the campaign trail have long made her popular among Texas Democrats. But her daylong speech defending women’s right to an abortion won her fame across the country and added to her donor list.
Experts say Davis would need to raise about $40 million to put on a competitive campaign in Texas, where Democrats have not won more than 42 percent of the electorate in the last three statewide elections. But national Democratic support and changing state demographics give Davis a chance to end the Democrats’ 20-year losing streak in Texas, Democratic consultants say.
Davis originally promised to announce her intentions by Labor Day, but her father became ill following complications from abdominal surgery. He died Sept. 5, and Davis has spent the last two weeks with her family.
For months Davis has said that she will either run for re-election to the Texas Senate — where she would face a well-financed Republican challenger in a swing district — or run for governor. Attorney General Greg Abbott is the Republican front-runner, with a $20 million campaign fund, facing former Texas Workforce Commissioner Tom Pauken, who has raised less than $200,000.