Wendy Davis, former Democratic candidate for Texas governor, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Wednesday, saying the former secretary of state will be rewarded for her long history in Lone Star politics come Election Day.
"I know that Hillary holds Texas in a very dear place in her heart," Davis said, alluding to the Clintons' work registering black and Hispanic voters in the 1970s in the Rio Grande Valley. "What those of us know who've been around the Texas scene for a long time is that Hillary and Bill Clinton cut their teeth organizing communities in South Texas and creating the kinds of relationships that show they understand the real needs of people, not only in this state, but across these United States."
Davis made her endorsement official at an Austin coffee shop along with Sarah Eckhardt, the first female Travis County judge. Both Democrats expressed an affinity for Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who has emerged as Clinton's chief rival for the Democratic nomination, but made clear they view Clinton as the most qualified candidate at the end of the day.
"I think Bernie Sanders is wonderful, and I love his message, but I do believe Hillary has shown herself to be the exemplary candidate in terms of the person who's best equipped to do this," Davis told reporters after her remarks, bringing up early polls that show Clinton with a "wide lead" in Texas. "She's been loyal to this state, and I expect that this state's going to be loyal to her."
Clinton had endorsed Davis for governor, releasing a robocall for her in the final week of her unsuccessful race last year against Republican Greg Abbott. Davis returned the favor two weeks after the gubernatorial election, emailing supporters an appeal to join Ready for Hillary, a group that worked to the lay the groundwork for Clinton's presidential bid.
Davis, a former state senator from Fort Worth, has been re-emerging on the public stage since Abbott easily defeated her last year in the gubernatorial race. Davis recently told Rolling Stone she would like to run for office again but does not have a specific position in mind.
"I hope that that opportunity presents itself to me again because I loved being in public service and I loved fighting for the things I was fighting for, " Davis told reporters Wednesday. "It may or may not happen in my future. If it doesn't, I'm going to keep my voice out there. I'm going to continue to work to make sure we're electing people that represent the values that I and so many others in this state hold dear."
Ahead of the event, Republicans were happy to revive memories of Davis' performance in the gubernatorial race. Calling Davis' bid for governor an "epic embarrassment for Democrats nationally," the Republican National Committee said Clinton could learn from Davis' campaign that the "'war on women' playbook doesn't work, especially in Texas." The Texas GOP, meanwhile, warned that Clinton could expect the same fate in 2016 that Davis faced in 2014, when Abbott even beat her among women.