Wendy Davis, as expected, threw her hat into the ring for Texas Governor today. This move has fired up the Democratic base in the great state, while the GOP has already began attacking her and saying Texas remains safely in their column. Here's the thing, Wendy Davis is known for besting her Republican challengers in solid red areas and becoming liked on both sides.
Something that might help the Democratic movement and Davis campaign next year is Debra Medina. She has sparked interest in running. She ran as a Republican in 2010 and garnered 20% of the vote. A divided GOP is a plus for a Davis bid.
A poll showing 50% of Texans undecided on the governors race next year was relesed this week, but a PPP poll from July is also encouraging. The PPP poll shows Abbott at favorable numbers of 32/26 and Wendy at 39/29. A reminder, this poll was done before the whole Twitter controversy happened.
Looking at the crosstabs of that poll, among Mitt Romney voters Abbott pulls in 48% to like him, 11% not to and 41% not sure. Compare this to Wendy Davis who garners 71% of Obama voters to approve of her, 6% not to, and 24% not sure. She is also able to grab 16% of Romney voters and 29% of "other" voters to approve.
Wendy Davis represents Fort Worth's State Senate District 10. It was solidly going Republican election after election. In 1992, District 10 went Republican by about 60/40, the incumbent held on in 1996 and 2000. In 2002, the incumbent was replaced by another Republican by 60/40 margins again. The newly elected Republican state senator kept his seat 60/40 in 2004. 4 years later, in 2008 Wendy Davis broke the cycle of the district voting reliably Republican by 60/40 to electing a Democrat 49.9-47.5. She battled for re-election in 2012 and won 51.1-48.8. Davis was and is able to pull voters from both sides of the aisle, get them to the polls, and put her over the top.
There are also a few other factors that will make a big difference in 2014 for Wendy Davis. Number 1 (and a really important one) is the money. Wendy Davis is the first Democrat that has fired up the base and grabbed the attention of inside plus outside money. With the money coming in, volunteers are too. Davis has fired up the state's party to levels not seen in quite some time, but also she has help from some of the national campaigns including team members of the Obama organization. The next item that will help Davis is not just the number of Hispanic voters, but the number of unregistered voters. There is a huge block of unregistered people in Texas that are ready to vote and the Democrats want to make sure they get them registered and to the polls.
#TeamWendy will be a uphill battle to put her in the governors mansion, but there are many factors coming into play in Texas that will make that uphill battle actually possible. We'll know in about 13 months the outcome of the Texas Election and regardless of the results it's going to be interesting.