Texas Governor Hopeful Davis Taps Ex-Texans for Cash

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 05:48 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Longshot Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis reportedly is turning to deep-pocketed ex-Texans in Washington for money, resources and connections to pull off an upset — or at least to make the solid-red state competitive again.

Groups like the Lone Star Project and Battleground Texas brought out donors for Davis at a fundraiser last week in Washington, The Dallas Morning News reported.

"It helps me through endorsements and their willingness to financially assist," she told the newspaper. "It helps in terms of building the kind of volunteer base and campaign-worker base that's needed in order to take on a state as large as Texas is."

Davis, who made national headlines in June with a filibuster in Austin against strict new abortion regulations — though the law eventually passed the Republican-dominated legislature — is trying to succeed Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

But her likely Republican opponent next year, Attorney General Greg Abbott, attacked Davis' Beltway alignment.

"While Greg Abbott makes his pitch to voters about keeping Texas the nation's leader in job creation, Sen. Davis is selling her agenda in D.C., New York and California — all places her ideas seem to be more accepted than here in the Lone Star State," Abbott spokesman Avdiel Huerta told the newspaper.

But Davis told the newspaper her candidacy had instilled a feeling a hope and excitement "that I don't think we've seen in Texas in a couple of decades."

Much of the Washington firepower comes from the political tree of former Rep. Martin Frost. His former aides, inside and outside Congress, have been boosting Davis' various campaigns for years, the newspaper reported.

If elected, Davis would be the first Democratic governor of Texas since Ann Richards was elected in 1990.

"We have a real shot here," said Frost, who lost his seat in 2004 and now lives in Washington. "If Democrats don't run a strong candidate when a strong candidate is available, then they won't win. Wendy Davis is that candidate, and her friends here will continue to help her."

Inside the Washington Beltway, Democratic strategist Matt Angle directs the Lone Star Project, a research organization that provides Davis with strategic and message support.
Last week, the Lone Star Project and Battleground Texas, a group headed by former aides of President Barack Obama, co-sponsored a Washington fundraiser for Davis.

"Wendy Davis embodies more than just the hope of Democrats, she taps into the outrage of independents and a lot of Republicans who realize that Greg Abbott and other state leaders don't really care much about Texans and are mostly just looking out for themselves," Angle told the newspaper.

Other groups include Emily's List, a group that promotes Democratic women who support abortion rights. The group has provided Davis with support, including staffing, the newspaper said.

Transplanted young professionals from Texas are also on board, the newspaper said.

"I'm going back home to Texas and walking door-to-door," Brian Stansbury, a lawyer from Texas, told the newspaper. "I will wear out a couple of shoes in Texas."

Stansbury, who was among Democrats who helped Bill White against Rick Perry in the 2010 race for governor, said Davis has a better shot.

"Wendy will have a lot more money from D.C. and nationwide than Bill White," he said.

Abbott has a monumental lead in fundraising, with a war chest of nearly $25 million.



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