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In a widely anticipated move by politicians at both the state and national levels, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis stood before a crowd of more than 1,000 cheering supporters Thursday and formally announced her bid for the 2014 Texas gubernatorial election.
The Fort Worth attorney got a bachelor’s degree in English from Texas Christian University and a law degree from Harvard Law School, came to national prominence in June after filibustering an abortion bill with a 13-hour speech in opposition of the bill.
During her speech, Davis assured supporters education will be a top priority on her platform.
“Texas deserves a leader that understands that keeping education a priority is important for the future,” Davis said. “We want every child, no matter where they start in Texas, to receive a world class education, an education that can take them anywhere they want to go.”
Davis went on to urge listeners to help make “Texas a little less lone, and a little more star,” by voting for a leader that would put Texas and Texans first.
During her speech, she told the highs and lows of being a single mother and living in a trailer park, struggling to make ends meet.
“Coming in and finding that the electricity had been turned off, or the phone disconnected, was not uncommon,” Davis said.
She said it was the education-friendly Texas that she remembers allowed her to advance in life.
The race, the first gubernatorial election in which no incumbent is running for re-election since the election of Ann Richards in 1990, is expected to be competitive as Davis and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have quickly risen as the front runners.
Although Davis’ move energized moderates and liberals across the country, Richmond, Va., graduate student Anne-Katherine Vath said she believes this could hurt Davis in the long run.
“While she’s probably qualified, and would be an effective governor, I think she would have a hard time winning because of the current political climate in Texas,” Vath said. “Texas is a deep-seeded red state rooted in conservative values which will be difficult for a pro-choice candidate to overcome.”
Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post, however, wrote in a blog post that he feels as though Davis’ chances are not as grim as they may seem, despite the fact that Davis is in a overwhelmingly red state.
Davis defeated Republican Mark Shelton in 2012, an election that Gov. Rick Perry invested much time and energy in, to unseat her.
According to a poll by Texas Lyceum, a nonpartisan, non for-profit group, Abbott leads Davis 29 to 21 percent which, according to Sullivan, signals “room for movement.”
Regardless, the upcoming months will not be easy for Davis.
Dr. Joseph Brown, associate professor of political science, said he believes that unless Davis can find issues that resonate with voters, she’ll have a hard time winning the election in November of next year.
“Given the fact that Texas is a strong republican state, it’s going to be an uphill battle for her,” Brown said. “The fact that all statewide positions in Texas are held by Republicans is an indicator of the difficulty she faces.”
According to the Atlantic Wire, pro-life groups nationwide, including Texas Right to Life, already have attack ads set to launch, one which calls Davis an “abortion zealot,” despite the fact the Davis herself is a single mother of two.
Asking for prayers and support as she walked off of the stage where she received her high school diploma 32 years ago, Davis faded into the audience as a new stage in her political career commenced.
As Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks stated in the invocation before her announcement, it’s time to for Davis take off her pink running shoes and put on combat boots.