Although she stopped short of a formal announcement of candidacy on Monday, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis certainly sounded like someone who will seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014.
In response to questions from Newsmax following her address to a standing-room-only luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, the 50-year-old lawmaker said she would run either for governor or for re-election to her Fort Worth senate seat.
Davis, who gained national fame in June for her 11-hour filibuster against restricting abortion access in the Lone Star State, said she would make her decision "in a few weeks."
For all the attention and money attracted by the Democrat who filibustered in pink sneakers, she clearly would have an uphill battle in a state that last elected a Democratic governor back in 1990.
Republican sources in Texas told Newsmax that a private poll shows that among likely voters statewide, state Attorney General Greg Abbot, the near-certain GOP nominee, would defeat Davis by a margin of 57 percent to 41 percent.
With guests submitting questions to Davis in writing, Newsmax asked whether she would consider seeking another statewide office in Texas next year such as U.S. senator or lieutenant governor — which, it was pointed out, "has more power than the governorship" under the state constitution.
"I will say with absolute certainty," Davis replied, "that I will run for re-election to my state senate seat or for the governorship."
As she left, Newsmax asked the single mother and Harvard Law graduate what her personal deadline was in making that decision.
"Hopefully, in a few weeks." she said.
When we asked if that meant her deadline was the end of September, Davis nodded and said: "I think so."
Asked whether her identification with the pro-abortion cause would harm her chances among the state's Latino population — which largely is Roman Catholic and pro-life — Davis sidestepped the question.
"The Latino community wants leaders who care about things to improve the family," Davis said, specifically citing improved education, economic development, and healthcare for all. Should she run for governor, Davis said, her agenda would "transcend ethnic lines."
Almost as if to offer alternatives should she not run for governor, Davis praised the Castro brothers — Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro and older-by-a-minute identical twin Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio — as leaders for whom "the sky's the limit."
She also hailed Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards, daughter of the late Gov. Ann Richards, as an "extraordinary human being." Should Richards return to Texas to run for office, Davis said, "Sign me up."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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