Failed Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis will launch a bid to unseat pro-life Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy in 2020. The abortion activist is best known for filibustering a bill to ban late-term abortions in the Texas legislature.
The revelation ends months of speculation and sets the stage for what could be a high-profile duel in a congressional district national Democrats are aggressively targeting.
Abigail Sheppard, press secretary for U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, said Thursday that “Wendy spoke to the congressman directly that she plans on running.” Davis, a former state senator, said in April that she was considering running, but in June she disputed a report that she was planning to run, saying she hadn’t decided yet. A spokesman for Davis declined to comment Thursday.
Top Democrats apparently already are building the infrastructure necessary to wage battle in the 21st Congressional District, which stretches from Austin to San Antonio and includes six Hill Country counties.
Davis, who represented the Fort Worth area in the Texas Senate and now lives in Austin, will reenter the political limelight after losing to Gov. Greg Abbott by more than 20 percentage points in 2014. Still, she could face better odds in the district where Roy squeaked by Democrat Joseph Kopser by less than 3 percentage points in 2018 — one of the six districts in Texas that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hopes to flip in 2020.
“Wendy Davis and her radical left Hollywood views are out-of-step with the Texas Hill Country values I am proud to represent… But if she wants to spend a lot of Democrat money to run, we’ll see her on the campaign trail,” Roy said in April.
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Davis gained national attention in 2013 after she held a 13-hour-long filibuster to block Texas Senate Bill 5, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks. She subsequently ran for governor in 2014, but was handily defeated by Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
During the podcast, Davis contended she believes there needs to be more women in politics, but not Republican women.
“We don’t just need more women, and as you rightly pointed out, more women of color, we need more of the right kind of women,” she said. “Right now we have nine women in the Texas senate, for example — it’s the most we’ve ever had at one time in Texas history — six of them are Republican and all of them have been aggressively working on these assaults to women’s reproductive freedom.”
“Simply by virtue of the fact that you are a the right gender does not necessarily mean you will bring the right perspective and the right passion to these issues,” Davis added.