Wendy Davis to join Texas governor’s race

FORT WORTH, Texas — The word is out that it’s about to become official: State Sen. Wendy Davis will run for governor next year.

Several influential Democrats told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Thursday that Davis and her team have told supporters that she’s in the race, but wanted to be the one to publicly announce the news to grassroots supporters during an afternoon event Oct. 3 somewhere in the area of her home base in Fort Worth. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized by the campaign to speak.

Davis staffers said only that the senator has made up her mind about her political plans — and they would not confirm Politico reports that she’s begun to notify party leaders of her decision.

“Sen. Davis announced last week to her grassroots supporters that she has made a decision and she will announce that decision on Oct. 3,” said Hector Nieto, a spokesman with Davis’ campaign.

Davis last week generated headlines by announcing she’s going to make her announcement next week. Thursday, her campaign is making news again — especially in digital news circles — with more coverage of pre-announcement activities.

Republicans say Davis doesn’t have a chance of winning the gubernatorial race; Democrats admit it’s an unlikely uphill battle.

But Democrats have long maintained that Davis — who gained nationwide fame from a June filibuster that temporarily prevented a comprehensive abortion bill from passing, although the GOP-led Senate passed the measure a few weeks later — has star-power, can help spur other Democrats to run for statewide offices and can motivate voters to turn out in the next election.

Davis had planned to announce her plans earlier this month but she delayed any announcement after her father — Jerry Russell, founder and director of Fort Worth’s Stage West — ended up in the hospital in critical condition. Russell died Sept. 5 of complications from abdominal surgery.

Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced earlier this year that he was not seeking a record fourth term in office, opening the door for other Texans to seek the post — particularly GOP frontrunner Greg Abbott, the state’s attorney general.

Davis — whose roots are deeply entrenched in Tarrant County, one of the most Republican areas in one of the most Republican states in the country — has reported having millions of dollars in her campaign coffers, including more than $1 million she received in the six weeks after her filibuster.

Abbott has already said he has around $21 million in his war chest.

“She may be a lightning rod for the Democratic base to turn out, but she’s also a lightning rod for the Republican base to turn out,” Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri has said. “She’ll help turn out our forces like never before.”

The monthlong registration period for next year’s primary begins Nov. 9.

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