Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) laid the groundwork Wednesday for a likely run for governor, sending an e-mail to supporters in which she urged them to expand the network of people who would learn about her final decision on Oct. 3.
Davis, who garnered national attention this summer for fighting a sweeping antiabortion bill in her state, wrote that she will make a “big announcement” next month and wants her backers to spread the word in the meantime: “Do you have any friends or family who would like to be among the first to know?”
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.