National Dems Write Off Wendy Davis' Chances for Texas Governor

Image: National Dems Write Off Wendy Davis' Chances for Texas Governor

Monday, 23 Jun 2014 10:30 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis burst onto the national political scene last summer after opposing GOP-backed pro-life legislation. One year later, her star power has faded as Washington Democrats concede her race has little hope of succeeding.

According to Politico, national Democrats have all but written off her chances as her poll numbers have tanked. The Harvard-educated legislator has been trailing GOP Attorney General Greg Abbott by an average of 12 points in a number of different polls since March.

"We're hopeful in Texas, but we all understand that Democrats haven't won Texas in a long time," Democratic Governors Association Chairman Peter Shumlin said, according to Politico. "We hope this will be our year."

Another national Democrat familiar with the race told Politico, "One, it's Texas. Two, the Davis campaign, coming out of…a big national event, had the strategic imperative to make sure she was defined as something more than an abortion filibuster candidate, and given the early hiccups, I'm not sure they ensured that imperative."

The source added, "And then the third piece of why this is tough is because, Greg Abbott, we agree on nothing, but in terms of being a candidate he's well-funded, he seems to have united a very strong Texas Republican Party. These are all fundamental factors in the race."

Davis, whose campaign stumbled after inconsistencies were revealed in her biography, has nevertheless been quick to brush off pessimism about her chances.

"I don't spend time thinking about whether someone in Washington, D.C. believes that this is a winnable race – I know it is," she told Politico.

"I'm focused on what's going on here on the ground in Texas," she said, adding, "I understand why it's difficult for people who are in D.C. to see and understand what's happening here, but I see and understand it. And I'm motivated by it and encouraged tremendously by it."

A year ago, Davis was flying high after she triumphed in a 13-hour filibuster that temporarily halted new abortion restrictions. National Democrats saw her as their first potential win in their longer term campaign, through the group Battleground Texas, to turn the state blue. For a time, donations for Davis were pouring into her campaign from D.C. to Hollywood.

Davis is also currently at a financial disadvantage. The latest disclosures showed that Abbott had $30 million on hand while Davis had $11 million, Politico reported.

Republicans, who have controlled every statewide office since 1998, have no intention of fumbling.

"It has been 20 years since a Democrat has won a statewide election in Texas, and by God, we're not going to let that record be broken this year," Abbott said to the Texas GOP convention earlier this month, Politico reported.

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