Wendy Davis, the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor, sought late last week to tamp down on speculation that she is interested in running for U.S. Senate.
"I am not looking seriously at running for the Senate in 2018," Davis said on a conference call last Friday with reporters hosted by the Democratic National Committee.
In response to a question about her political ambitions, the former state senator from Fort Worth first said she wanted to "correct the record a bit" in light of comments she made last month at the Texas Tribune Festival. There, she suggested that voter turnout in November would be a factor in her decision of whether to take on U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018.
On Friday, she made clear she's not seriously considering a challenge to Cruz — but still emphasized the need for potential Democratic candidates to pay attention to turnout trends in solidly red Texas.
"I do think anyone that is looking at the potential of running statewide in Texas in ’18 or in the years to come is certainly going to be interested in seeing what kind of voter turnout we have here and our opportunity of course to capture that data and to speak to voters that we may not have discovered before," Davis said.
"From here, it's easy to see that Washington doesn't work," Gallego, an Alpine Democrat, says in the 30-second spot released late last week. "That's why one of my first bills in Congress was to slash the pay of both parties if they couldn't work together to pass a budget."
Gallego, who served in Congress until Hurd unseated him in 2014, goes on to promise to "work across the aisle to increase the minimum wage, pass paid family leave and equal pay for equal work." Released last Friday, the commercial is titled "Getting Things Done."
In their campaigns, both Hurd and Gallego have taken steps to distance themselves from dysfunction and gridlock in the nation's capital. One of Hurd's main pitches to voters is how unusually productive he has been in his first term in Washington.
Meanwhile, another ad released this week attacks Gallego as a political insider due to his support from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Released Tuesday, the 30-second spot from the National Republican Congressional Committee shows Pelosi — a "San Francisco liberal" — talking about how she is "fully invested" in Gallego's bid to win back the CD-23 seat from Hurd.
"Pelosi wants Gallego back in Washington. She's a fan," a narrator says in the commercial. "Why? Because Gallego is the insider's insider, career politician, went and lobbied after you fired him from Congress."
The spot is the latest effort by national Republicans to make hay out of Gallego's lobbying activities after he left Congress in 2014. In response to a previous NRCC ad raising the issue, Gallego's campaign said he "has not worked in Washington since he left office" but did not deny that he has lobbied.