One filibuster does not a governor make.
Pay attention, Wendy Davis. You’re trying to ride a single political event into the most visible — if not the most powerful — office in Texas.
It likely won’t work.
Davis, the state senator from Fort Worth, is running for governor as a the Democratic Party nominee. The latest polling on the race shows her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, with a 12-point lead. That’s a good bit of ground to make up for Davis, who burst onto the national scene by filibustering an anti-abortion bill nearly to death in 2013. It came back to life in a special legislative session and became law shortly thereafter.
Davis’s filibuster, which occurred a year ago this week, made her a celebrity with the reproductive-rights activists.
She should be able to mount a stout challenge to Abbott. However, as the summer progresses and the autumn campaign season approaches, it’s beginning to look as though Davis hasn’t yet found her voice.
My sincerest hope is that Texas can become a place where Republicans and Democrats can battle each other on a level playing field. It hasn’t been that way in Texas for more than two decades. Ann Richards was the most recent Democrat to become governor, and that was in 1990. John Sharp was re-elected comptroller in 1994 and he was the most recent Democrat to be elected to any statewide office.
It’s been Republican-only ever since.
The preferred outcome is for both parties to be strong so they can keep the other party bosses honest, keep them alert and keep the crazies from infiltrating them. The Texas Republican Party has been hijacked by its very own tea party wing. Formerly mainstream Republicans — such as Abbott — now are tacking far to the right, apparently in keeping with the prevailing mood of Texas voters.
Democrats? They’ve been languishing in the political wilderness.
Many Democrats saw a superstar in the making when Davis burst onto the scene. Her campaign has been floundered. Her campaign manager quit, so she’s starting from scratch.
Yes, Davis has banked a lot of campaign money. Her task will be to spend it wisely and effectively.
Relying on the feelings of those who thought her filibuster against the abortion restrictions was an act of heroism isn’t going to get the job done.
“Anybody that thinks that this campaign is over, or somehow she’s irrelevant, isn’t thinking,” said Garry Mauro, a former Texas Democratic land commissioner. Then he added, “Nobody with $20 million is irrelevant.”
Money talks. What’s it going to say about Wendy Davis?