Wendy Davis – A Year After the Filibuster
She is in sneakers again.
One year after bursting onto the national scene with a marathon filibuster against abortion restrictions, Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator and Democratic nominee for governor, has been doing everything she can to mark the anniversary of that speech last June, even donning the same pink Mizuno sneakers.
The problem: A year after her filibuster pumped her up into the kind of galvanizing candidate Texas Democrats have not had for decades, she seems very much dragged down to earth, dwarfed by the perception that Democrats’ chances of ending the Republican domination of Texas remain slim. Recent polls have shown her trailing her Republican opponent — the state attorney general, Greg Abbott — by up to 12 percentage points. Her campaign manager, Karin Johanson, who helped engineer the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006, left after about 30 weeks on the job, one of a handful of aides and consultants who have departed.
And to the dismay of many Democrats, her campaign publicly pounced on Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, and called him a Washington “desk jockey” after he suggested that the group was less than optimistic about her chances.
All of that comes even as the campaign is expected to raise more money than any Democratic candidate for governor in Texas history and as her supporters gathered here Friday at the state Democratic Party convention. Ms. Davis delivered a keynote address that night that quoted Scripture and paid tribute to her grandmother’s work ethic in the hardscrabble Texas Panhandle.
Ms. Davis has turned her filibuster on the floor of the Texas Senate into a grass-roots movement that has inspired thousands of volunteers, donors and other supporters to pledge their time and money to her on a scale few Texas Democrats have ever pulled off. She has so far raised nearly $20 million (one Austin donor wrote her a $1 million check last year).