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An Announcement From Wendy Davis, Sort Of

Texas Sen. Wendy Davis' offices were firebombed yesterday by what police characterize as a mentally-ill suspect.
Texas Sen. Wendy Davis' offices were firebombed yesterday by what police characterize as a mentally-ill suspect.

Let the countdown begin: Sen. Wendy Davis has announced her announcement date.

The Fort Worth Democrat, eyeing a run for governor, said in an email release that she would break some news about her political future on Thursday, Oct. 3.

The Davis camp had embargoed the release until Wednesday at 9 a.m., meaning media outlets were asked not to publish anything before then. But word of the announcement date immediately began spreading on social media and the campaign lifted the embargo shortly before midnight.

“There’s one question I’ve gotten quite often in the past few months,” Davis wrote in the email. “I’ve heard it online, while I’m traveling around the state, from the media and in my Fort Worth neighborhood: What’s next?”

Davis invited supporters to sign up for an alert so they can be “among the first know” what she decides to do on the day of the announcement. A newly created page on her website, where people can sign up for the alerts, also bounced around Twitter on Tuesday night.

Davis became a political celebrity for Democrats when she helped temporarily derail a restrictive abortion bill with an hours-long filibuster in June. The spotlight on her has only grown since, and the long lead-up to her announcement date only ratchets up the anticipation and speculation about her plans. 

Davis has said she will either run for re-election to her state Senate seat or for governor. If it’s not the latter, though, there will be a lot of disappointed Texas Democrats. They’ve been begging her to run for weeks, and she’s done nothing to dampen their enthusiasm.

“It would be a huge let-down for Democratic activists,” said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

Henson said he has seen no indication of a pull-back. In her speeches and fundraising blasts she has ripped state Republican leaders, including Gov. Rick Perry and a potential fall opponent, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott.

The email itself, which has a picture of Davis next to a caption that asks, “What Will Wendy Do Next,” suggests she’s got bigger aspirations than a re-election race for a state Senate seat. 

“It’s hard not to look at something like this and think she’s not going to run,” said Henson. “Certainly all the signs up to this point suggest she’s going to run. All the incentives have now lined up in a way that it really wouldn’t make sense if she didn’t.”

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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