Time Writer Wonders of Wendy Davis 'Is She Cinderella or Joan of Arc'?
"Is she Cinderella or Joan of Arc?" Time.com contributor Hilary Hylton mused of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D) in the lead sentence of her Friday, September 27 story, "Wendy Davis Laces Up Her Running (for Governor) Shoes." ] "Now that she’s on the verge of announcing a run for Texas governor, everyone is wondering whether the glass slipper will fit, or will she be a martyr for her cause?" Hylton reasoned.[h/t Joshua Trevino of the Texas Public Policy Foundation]
If by "everyone," Hylton means the subset of humanity that constitutes America's liberal political journalists, than yes, she may have a point. Most Americans and I would imagine most Texans, however, don't even know who Wendy Davis is. Hylton seems to get that and adds that, "In reality, the story unfolding in Texas will likely neither be fanciful nor tragic, but a very long, very expensive and very nasty political tale." Translation: win or lose (likely the latter), Wendy Davis will get banged up something fierce in her race for governor.
The balance of Hylton's 12-paragraph piece is pretty favorable to Davis, painting her as a cagey, disciplined pol who nonetheless is in for an innocence-robbing run against ruthless Republicans (emphasis mine):
Davis has been disciplined to the point of coyness about her intentions–her campaign says she won’t announce her intentions publicly until she’s surrounded by her grassroots supporters on October 3. But big players behind the scenes have confirmed she is going to run for the state’s top spot. The slow waltz is an effort to boost fundraising, energize the grassroots and keep her name in the news as she gets ready for the official announcement, scheduled to take place in her hometown, Fort Worth, at the site of her high school graduation. In a tweet, Davis urged her supporters to “wear comfortable shoes and colors of the Texas flag.”[...]
[Texas Attorney General Greg] Abbott starts out as the undisputed front-runner. He appears on the latest cover of Texas Monthly under the headline “The Gov*” with a footnote in very small print “*barring an unlikely occurrence.” The AG sits in his wheelchair – he was injured as a young man when a tree fell on him while jogging — clad in jeans and a khaki shirt with a shotgun resting on his shoulder. The image is an affirmation of Abbott’s conservative credentials. And the job at hand for his campaign will be to paint Davis as a liberal, out of step with Texas values. (Abbott’s campaign team is experienced at rebranding — they turned one of the state’s most popular politicians, former US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, into “Kay Bailout Hutchison” in her unsuccessful bid to unseat Gov. Rick Perry.)
Davis has shown political acumen so far, developing a shorthand biography that references her humble roots as a single mom who worked her way to Harvard Law School. But observers expect the story to be fleshed out and “more fully told,” as one political observer says. Davis’ lucrative work as an attorney representing several public entities will likely come under fire. Voters seemed to gloss over the issue in past campaigns, but a statewide race is a different matter. While not unncommon, [Rice University political scientist Mark] Jones says that kind of potential conflict is “an unseemly side of Texas politics that Abbott, given his career as a judge and attorney general, is untainted by.”
As opponents try to rebrand her, Davis will have to move quickly, according to Harvey Kronberg, editor of the Austin-based political newsletter, The Quorum Report. “The biggest question on the table is can she raise enough money fast enough to counter the re-defining process even before the official filing deadline this coming December,” Kronberg says. Davis will be able to raise money outside of Texas and will continue to get deep support from the trial lawyers who have been her major contributors in the past, says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University. But whether she can match what is expected to be a $40 million Republican warchest – Abbott has $20 milion now — is doubtful. “She will be outspent,” Jillson says.
Although the widely held conventional wisdom is that Davis will lose, it may not be as bad as other recent Democratic efforts. “My sense is she loses by eight or nine percent,” says Jillson. “She will do better because she is exciting, articulate.”[...]
“While it seems unlikely that Davis is the type of candidate who would be able to simultaneously boost Hispanic turnout and convince Hispanics who historically have voted Republican to cross-over,” Jones says, “she may have better luck attracting the vote of Anglo women who have traditionally voted for GOP candidates.” To that end, it appears the “war on women” is about to open another new front in Texas. Wear comfortable shoes. It is going to be a long haul.