WASHINGTON — State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, said Monday that she will either run for re-election or for Texas governor, and that she's working hard to make her decision.
Speaking at a National Press Club luncheon, Davis said those were the only two options, and that she's not considering joining the lieutenant governor's race. She did not indicate when she'll make up her mind.
"People do feel we need a change from the very fractured, very partisan leadership we’re seeing in Texas right now," she said.
Davis shot to national prominence in June after staging an hours-long filibuster in the state Senate in an attempt to kill some of the most restrictive abortion regulations in the country. That filibuster succeeded, but the legislation later passed in a special legislative session.
Since the filibuster, Davis has appeared at fundraisers in Washington and spoken on national television. She has been the subject of speculation over a potential statewide run in 2014. In the final two weeks of June, Davis’ campaign raised almost $1 million in donations.
Days after the filibuster, Gov. Rick Perry said that by advocating for abortion rights, Davis, a single mother, showed she did not “learn from her own example.” The comment elicited criticism from Davis, who called the remark “without dignity,” and from House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio.
In her speech on Monday, Davis painted Texas Republicans as being driven by party politics, criticizing Perry in particular for his job-luring trips to New York and California and his veto of equal work-equal pay legislation. Davis tried to portray herself as above party interests, saying she had worked on “issues people don’t usually associate with Democrats” such as transportation and water funding.
“I will seek common ground because we must,” Davis said. “But sometimes you have to take a stand on sacred ground.”
Davis also spoke out against the restrictions on abortion clinics lawmakers recently passed and previous cuts to family planning in Texas, saying she relied on free and low-cost women's health care as a young woman. "Partisan legislation on top of years of significant budget cuts has cut that access for tens of thousands of women across the state," she said.
Following her address, Matt Angle, a senior strategist for the Davis campaign, said he expects her to make a decision on her political future before Labor Day.
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who was in the audience, said he hopes Davis opts to run for governor, despite Texas’ reputation as a deep red state.
“She’s got an incredible opportunity to take Texas to another level and I would like to see her take that step,” he said. “But ultimately that’s her decision and she’s got to work through that process."
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