Robert Miller, chairman of the Locke Lord's Public Law Group, reported that sources told him Davis – who stalled the passage of a 20-week fetal pain abortion ban with her 11-hour filibuster – realizes she will be a polarizing figure no matter what seat she seeks.
“If she is going to have a tough nationalized race, she would prefer it be for governor,” Miller wrote.
The one-time single mother has raised her national profile over recent weeks by holding a press conference in the nation's capital and addressing a San Francisco fundraiser for EMILY's List. “I will seek common ground, because we all must,” she said
“But sometimes you have to take a stand,” she said, referring to abortion-on-demand as “sacred ground.” She added that her passionate embrace of abortion stemmed from her love of “liberty, the freedom to choose what your future will hold.”
Davis' 11-hour filibuster generated nearly $1 million in campaign donations from across the country and made her the most celebrated figure in Texas Democratic politics in nearly 20 years.
Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith compared Wendy Davis to the 1969 B-movie hero Billy Jack on PBS NewsHour. “Not since Ann Richards,” Smith said, “has a Democrat risen to the national, international level of acclaim, for good or for ill, that she has.”
Ann Richards, remembered for her attack on future President George H.W. Bush at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, was the mother of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards.
Richards' losing 1994 re-election bid marked the last time a Democratic candidate for governor of Texas cracked 46 percent of the vote. Republicans currently hold every statewide elected office and hold a strong majority in the legislature.
Rick Perry is retiring in 2014, strongly hinting that he would like to make a second run at the presidency. State Attorney General Greg Abbott has announced he will seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Polls show him defeating Davis in a hypothetical matchup by a margin of eight points (48-40).
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Still, the filibustering femme fatale represents the Democrats' best chance at running an energizing candidate who can tap into a nationwide network of feminist and abortion rights advocates.
Furthermore, even a losing effort might turn into a win for Davis.
“Assuming she runs a credible race, a cabinet or subcabinet position would probably be available to her under President Obama or in a future Clinton administration,” Miller explained. “A strong showing in 2014 would position her as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for Governor or U.S. Senator in 2018, assuming the Democrats have a better shot with each passing election cycle.”