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Wendy Davis Postpones Announcement on Political Future

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democrats' best hope to run for Texas governor, said Wednesday she is postponing the announcement of her decision so she can help care for her sick father. 

“I had hoped to make public my decision about that next week, but with everything that’s going on with my dad, I won’t be doing that,” Davis said. “It’s likely it will be late September before I do.”

Davis’ father, Jerry Russell, has been in critical condition at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth following complications from abdominal surgery. In a Facebook post, Davis said Russell, who has been battling pneumonia, was “continuing to show small but positive steps toward improvement” but was “not out of the woods” yet.

Russell, an actor and director, is well known in North Texas theater circles. He is the founder of Stage West, a popular nonprofit theater company that offers dinner service. He was in the third week of production of his latest play, Thank You Jeeves, when he fell ill, accordingto the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Davis became an instant celebrity — and a social media phenomenon — after waging a filibuster over a restrictive abortion bill in late June. She pulled in nearly $1 million in campaign contributions at the end of the first special session, thanks in large part to the filibuster, and saw her followers on Twitter rise from 1,200 beforehand to more than 140,000 today.

Democrats, who haven’t won a statewide election in Texas since 1994, have been pushing Davis to run for governor ever since. Davis has said she will either run for re-election to her state Senate seat or for governor in 2014.

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when he walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't the resist the draw: it was the the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and realized it wasn't for him. Soon he was applying for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. He has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.
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