Davis edges Shelton in bitter State Senate race

Wendy Davis

Credit: WFAA

District 10 State State Sen. Wendy Davis declares victory in her reelection bid.




Posted on November 7, 2012 at 12:12 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 7 at 12:34 PM

FORT WORTH — It was a long election night for supporters of State Sen. Wendy Davis.

A razor-thin margin separated the incumbent District 10 Democrat from her opponent all night long.

It was just before 11 o'clock when Davis appeared inside the Fort Worth Hilton, thanked her supporters, and said was "humbled" to be asked to serve again.

"A lean budget doesn't have to be a mean budget," Davis told the crowd to a loud round of applause. "We can have a Texas that's good for business and good for hard-working families," she added.

Davis lost in the early voting totals posted just after the polls closed at 7 o'clock, but won the Election Day balloting. That is just the opposite of the path she took in 2008.

Davis pulled away as the evening progressed, and by 11 o'clock, with 97 percent of precincts tallied, the incumbent maintained a 51-49 percent margin and a lead of nearly 6,000 votes. "We will never give up on Texas, and I will never give up on you!" she told supporters.

Davis was first elected to represent District 10 in 2008. She defeated a long-time Republican incumbent then, in what was considered one of the biggest upsets in Texas during that election cycle.

She raised more than $3.5 million for the 2012 campaign, and spent much of it on ads touting her personal triumphs. She was a single mom at the age of 19, found her way to Harvard Law School, and then served on Fort Worth City Council. Her opponent, Republican Dr. Mark Shelton, ran ads questioning Davis's ethics.

Davis spent election day working the polls across Tarrant County. She shook hands with voters at election sites in Fort Worth and Mansfield, and thanked campaign workers at several locations.

"I am inspired by an unbelievable number of volunteers, including people from across the state," she said. "I feel heartened."

This race is vitally important to both parties.

A Shelton victory would have put Republicans within one seat of a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate. That would have meant the ability to pass laws with the support of just one Democrat.

Many believe that Davis' win propels her to a position where she could have the opportunity to run for a statewide office.

After speaking to the crowd Tuesday night, she would not address that issue, saying she just wanted to "celebrate this victory with her family."

Davis has acknowledged District 10 is a "swing district."
"When you run in a district and when you know you're representing a district that's a swing district, you know people have mixed feelings about politics and partisanship, then you know you have to speak a message that speaks truth to everyone's heart, and rises above partisanship," she said.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com