Can Wendy Davis Make The Gubernatorial Race Competitive?

A Houston watch party waves signs after Wendy Davis makes her announcement that she is running for governor of Texas.
The Texas governor's race is taking shape now that Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis has made her run official. The election is still a year away and there are several candidates on the Republican side. But the state's attention is focused on only two people.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has long been considered the favorite to succeed Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

Abbott has a strong lead over his challengers in the Republican primary. And for a long time, being the Republican candidate for a statewide office in Texas has meant being elected to that office.

So, can Davis even make this a competitive race?

Maybe not surprisingly, Jared Woodfill, chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, thinks not.

“I think it’s very clear she wasn’t able to hold her Senate seat without Barack Obama on the top of the ticket. And so I think she said, if I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose big, and she’s doing it on the statewide level. And I think she hopes that she’ll follow into something as a result of building her name ID when she loses the race.”

He says the only thing Davis is known for is her filibuster to stop an abortion restriction bill earlier this year.

Ramsey Reid with Battleground Texas, a grassroots organization working on turning Texas into a Democratic state, disagrees with that notion. He says Davis fights for what the people care about.

“If Republicans think that this campaign is going to be only about women’s health, they’re kidding themselves, because there’s a lot more to it, and I think Wendy Davis has shown that with her track record in the state Senate and as a city councilwoman.”

Both Reid and Woodfill were on KUHF’s Houston Matters on Friday.

Reid mentions issues such as Texas’s high poverty rate, the high number of uninsured people and the many high school dropouts in the state as reasons why Texas needs a change in leadership.

Voters can make the Abbott-Davis race official in the primary elections in March.

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Florian Martin

Reporter/NewsLab Coordinator

Florian Martin is the KUHF NewsLab Coordinator. While guiding and overseeing interns, he works on his own stories and is always on call to cover breaking news and other media events...