Wendy Davis hopes to recapture energy on filibuster anniversary

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on June 25, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 25 at 5:55 PM

AUSTIN – One year to the day after her famous filibuster, State Senator Wendy Davis returns to Austin hoping to recapture some of the energy from that moment that launched her gubernatorial campaign. 

Davis is hosting an event Wednesday for her supporters to commemorate her filibuster and the Democrats' fight. 

“What happened last year was absolutely a reflection of when people come together and they’re committed,” said Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate and current-State Senator Leticia Van de Putte on a teleconference hosted by Annie’s List. 

She will join Davis in Austin on Wednesday. 

“The people were the ones who were shining stars a year ago today,” she continued. 

But despite the national attention the filibuster gave Davis on June 25, 2013, she remains behind her Republican competitor, Greg Abbott, by double digits in polls. 

Still, Democrats remain confident in Davis’ chances with four months until the general election. 

“It’s still early in the campaign season,” Van de Putte added. “I think people are going to be quite surprised where folks are. None of the pollsters in Eric Cantor’s stunning defeat caught that 30-point loss. You never know what people are going to do when they get to that ballot box.” 

A year ago, Davis filibustered for more than 12 hours to kill the legislation that would have increased restrictions on abortions and abortion providers. 

While she and Democrats were successful in stopping the bill that night, Governor Perry called another special session in which Republicans easily passed it. 

But Davis’ highly publicized filibuster filled the Capitol with thousands of Democrats clamoring to get into the Senate gallery to watch Davis. She became a hero of the left and energized the party like it hadn’t experienced in years. 

Wednesday night, Davis hopes to reignite the spark from the filibuster. She will likely reiterate her differences with Abbott on issues like education, women’s rights, and equal pay among other things. Democrats still think those messages will help connect her with suburban women voters whom Davis needs to win. 

But she also struggled earlier in the year with the Hispanic vote. Davis placed second in the Rio Grande Valley to a little known judge from Corpus Christi. 

Davis recently replaced her campaign manager with State Rep. Chris Turner, who insiders said has success in hard-to-win situations for Democrats. 

Earlier in the year, Davis also replaced her communications director which helped raise her public profile and increase attacks on Abbott. 

But polls consistently suggest she and her message have not resonated with a wider audience of voters. 

The filibuster anniversary is the first of two high-profile events for Davis. On Thursday morning, she speaks to the Texas Classroom Teachers Association’s Convention in Fort Worth. Then on Friday, Davis drives to Dallas for the state’s Democratic Convention at the city’s convention center. 

E-mail: jwhitely@wfaa.com

 

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