Texas Dem star Wendy Davis plots comeback, jumps into congressional race

Democrat Wendy Davis announced Monday, July 22, 2019, that she’s running for Congress in 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

Wendy Davis – the pink sneaker-wearing Texas Democrat who rose to fame among liberals for her 13-hour filibuster of a state Senate abortion bill in 2013, and then lost a high-profile run for governor a year later – announced Monday she plans to run for a U.S. House seat.

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“I’m proud to announce my campaign for Congress in TX-21!” Davis, a former state senator, tweeted. “I’m running to be a voice for every Texan who feels forgotten by a broken political system. It’s time to make Washington listen — will you stand with me?”

Her return to politics is another sign of Democrats’ renewed optimism in Texas.

Previously a state senator from Fort Worth, Davis is now running in a booming congressional district that stretches from Austin to San Antonio.

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The incumbent in the race, Republican Rep. Chip Roy, is a freshman lawmaker who once worked as chief of staff to Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and made headlines in May for single-handedly blocking $19 billion in disaster aid over protests that it didn’t include money to address the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. The spending bill ultimately passed, but not before Roy’s delay frustrated lawmakers on both sides.

In 2018, Roy won the race with just 50.3 percent of the vote.

The decision by Davis, who now runs a nonprofit, to run for a House seat means she has opted against entering the state’s 2018 Senate race with incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

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Davis, 56, entered the 2014 gubernatorial race to great fanfare but was crushed in the election by Republican Greg Abbott, who won 59.3 percent of the vote. The race turned nasty: Davis took heat after running a negative ad against Abbott, a paraplegic, showing an image of a wheelchair and invoking the accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Davis became an overnight Democratic sensation in 2013 after her filibuster over an anti-abortion bill. She told Texas Monthly in March that she recently met with actress Sandra Bullock to discuss the Oscar winner portraying her in a movie about the filibuster, which Davis said could be released next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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