Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis: ‘I would be lying’ to deny aspiration for higher office

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:57 EDT
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Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) appearing on "All In with Chris Hayes."
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Speaking to MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Wednesday, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D) was directly confronted on whether or not she plans to run for governor. She replied: “You know, I would be lying if I told you I hadn’t had aspirations.”

The first inklings that Democrats may be ready to throw their weight behind a Davis bid for the state’s highest office came the night of her 11-hour filibuster, when Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told Raw Story that if she runs, “she’d probably get elected governor, or whatever other office she wants to run for.”

Her filibuster captured the attention of the political establishment hours after Hinojosa made those comments, and the sudden rush of support for Davis on the Internet even got President Barack Obama watching.

That’s especially meaningful given the national Democratic Party’s plans to turn Texas into the ultimate swing state by 2016, if not sooner. Texas Democrats have long believed this shift would happen purely due to growth in the Latino community and their tendency to vote against Republicans — an ominous trend the state’s GOP continues to encourage. But if the 2012 presidential election showed anything, it’s that the rainbow coalition of minorities, women, LGBT people and working families is enough to overcome the conservative establishment.

This could be especially true in a minority-majority state like Texas, where white conservatives are now outnumbered and clinging to power by gerrymandering house and senate districts. If Democrats succeed in turning the state blue, the consequences would be devastating to Republicans, who could face being shut out of the White House for a generation under the current electoral college rules.

It appears that’s exactly the charge Democrats are eyeing Davis to lead.

Around the capitol grounds during her filibuster, it wasn’t just Democratic Party officials smiling over the idea of a Governor Davis. Sheena Yazdandoost, a Houston resident and University of Texas student who showed up Tuesday night to support Davis, practically bubbled over when asked her thoughts about the senator.

“She’s just, she’s the most amazing senator here!” Yazdandoost exclaimed. “She’s on point, she’s educated — just look at her background — she’s very self-aware, she’s calm and very attentive. She’s honest and she has a clear passion for what she’s doing.” She added, “Yes, 100 percent,” when asked if she’d support Davis for governor.

It wasn’t just young women who seemed energized by Davis’s filibuster either. “I think she’s fantastic,” Austin resident Dan Sharber said. “I think she’s amazing.”

Although no concrete plans have been laid out in public, it seems pretty clear the Davis, now the brightest star Texas Democrats have, is destined for something bigger than the Texas state senate.

“We’ve been sorely lacking that kind of leadership in the state of Texas for more than 20 years,” Hinojosa told Raw Story on Tuesday night. “So, yeah. I’m hoping she runs for statewide office, and I know that should she decide to, all of these women and men that are here today, young and old, will work their hearts out for her.”

This video is from “All In with Chris Hayes,” broadcast Wednesday, June 26, 2013.

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Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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