All eyes were on Fort Worth’s Wendy Davis (D) from Tuesday afternoon to the early hours of Wednesday morning as she and hundreds of supporters successfully stalled a vote that would have closed all but five abortion clinics in the state of Texas. With her blonde hair, pink tennis shoes and great background story, Davis gripped the national media, with every major news organization throwing her name and her cause into the spotlight.
Her name is now being used in the same sentence as “governor” by people high and low, and the possibility of her running for statewide office is more likely than ever — even as early as 2014. Regardless of what office she chooses to run for next year, her fundraising abilities in the next couple of months will be almost endless.
While Davis told the media she was “pleased to know the spotlight is shining on Texas,” that spotlight couldn’t help but shed some light on her. By the time the Texas Senate finally forced a vote on the issue, Davis’s name was trending on Twitter nationally, and she had received personal Twitter shout-outs from everyone from President Barack Obama to Pretty In Pink actress Molly Ringwald.
“I have never seen a Texas senator suddenly make world news over the course of 13 hours,” longtime Democratic consultant Harold Cook told the Texas Tribune. “I’m not sure it was possible before Twitter, honestly. At the start of the day, this was a local story. By the end, it was an international story.”
News organizations across the globe were posting “everything you need to know about Wendy Davis” posts by midday on Tuesday, and by the end of the day the world knew all about the teen mom that eventually graduated from Harvard Law School and now serves on the Texas Senate. Her background story as the ultimate survivor pushed her cause even farther into the spotlight, and was the reason the Democratic party chose her to lead the filibuster in the first place.
Davis is no stranger to widespread attention. Texas Republicans attempted to cut her district — the 10th District of Texas — in the redistricting process after the 2010 Census. Davis took her case to federal court under the Voting Rights Act, and forced the state to drop it’s redistricting plan. The hundreds of supporters that gathered in the Senate gallery on Tuesday night have good timing to thank for her presence on the senate, as the clause that won her the case was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on Monday.
She’s also filibustered before. In 2011, she filibustered and helped kill a plan that would have cut more than $5 billion from Texas public schools. The move caused Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to label her a “show horse” for the Democratic Party. Voters disagreed, and she was reelected in 2012 but was stripped of her Education Committee membership by state leadership as punishment for the move.
Regardless of her future prospects on the state level in Texas, her name will increasingly become more common as Texas continues to do battle over abortion restrictions. In a statement released Wednesday, Perry’s office noted that he “reserves the right to call the legislature back into special session anytime during the interim,” leaving open the possibility he may call a second special session to have another try at passing the law.