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Democratic Senator Wendy Davis (L) of Fort Worth speaks as fellow Senator Royce West of Dallas listens at a protest before the start of a special session of the Legislature in Austin, Texas July 1, 2013.  REUTERS/Mike Stone
She's in.
In late June, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis captivated the progressive nation with her courageous filibuster (the real kind!), sparking us to immediately launch a "Draft Wendy Davis for governor" effort.

Goal ThermometerA total of 76,000 of you signed that petition, while another 2,753 of you gave $67,000 to her state Senate campaign account on ActBlue (which she can transfer to her gubernatorial campaign). Many of our allies launched similar efforts, and the clamor for Wendy inside Texas was deafening. She just finally announced that yes, she is taking the plunge.

Let's be clear from the very start: This won't be an easy battle. This is Texas, after all, the state with the lowest voter participation in the country, and you know who those non-voters are: young voters (only Utah has a lower median age than Texas), Latinos, Asians, African Americans, single women ... the very people that Democrats depend on to win. As I'm fond of saying, if our voters turn out, we win. That is certainly the case in Texas, but our people simply aren't turning out.

Compounding the challenge, the GOP's frontrunner, Attorney General Greg Abbott, has already amassed about $20 million for his bid. Texas is an expensive state, so money is critical. But without campaign finance limits, Republicans are able to pile on the campaign cash far easier than Democrats. A successful Wendy Davis effort will require an all-hands on deck across the country. And trust me, we'll certainly want to do that, lest we have Ted Cruz, Jr. running Texas:

It's a CRUZ MISSILE: Shout out to @GregAbbott_TX from @SenTedCruz during#standwithrand filibuster!!
@GregAbbott_TX
But this is bigger than just getting rid of Baby Cruz, it's about accelerating trends that will eventually make Texas purple, then blue, whether Republicans like it or not (see here, here and here). But why wait until 2024 if we don't have to?

And that's what Wendy Davis represents: the kind of inspiring progressive leader Texas has lacked for a long time, one who promises to activate those Democratic-leaning voters who refuse to participate out of apathy, weariness, or loss of hope that anything can improve their lives. But with Texas corporate interests flooding the zone, victory will require hands-on work from every able progressive Texas, and the financial support of the rest of us in the other 49 states.

Don't be shy. Engage in this battle. Because if we take away Texas from the GOP, they'll have nothing of consequence left.

Update:

Wendy Davis signs

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 02:50 PM PDT.

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