The move represents an effort by Davis to develop a national fundraising network in anticipation of a bid to succeed Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), according to Democrats familiar with her thinking.
Davis had raised just over $1 million by the end of June, according to Texas election records. That puts her far behind potential GOP opponent Greg Abbott, the state’s attorney general, who has amassed a $20 million war chest.
Stephanie Schriock, president of the Democratic political action committee EMILY’s List, said anyone seeking the Texas governorship would have to raise between $35 million and $40 million to be competitive.
“If she decides to run, I really do believe Wendy will have the resources she needs to run a winning campaign,” Schriock said in an interview Wednesday.
Davis campaign spokesperson Hector Nieto declined to elaborate on the senator’s fundraising plans. “We’re just focused on our Oct. 3 announcement, with grassroots support,” he said.
Even if Davis can attract the millions she needs, experts said she would need to fashion a broader message beyond the work on reproductive rights that catapulted her into the media spotlight this summer.
“If Democrats want to nominate an out-of-touch, pro-abortion candidate who likes to spend her time fundraising in Washington, D.C., with [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi, they are going to quickly discover Wendy Davis’s path to victory is non-existent,” said Jon Thompson, spokesman for the Republican Governors Association.
Democratic Governors Association spokesman Danny Kanner said Davis has worked on a range of issues while in office, including the economy and education.
“For her entire career, Wendy Davis has been a champion for middle-class families in need of good-paying jobs and world-class schools,” Kanner said.