On a national scale, there is no doubt that Wendy Davis has a bigger fanbase than her Texas gubernatorial opponent Greg Abbott. On Twitter alone, Wendy boasts 177,000 followers, more than four times Greg’s 39,700. But unfortunately for Wendy, Texas isn’t exactly like the rest of America, especially when it comes to politics.
The idea of Wendy riding a wave of prominence she gained by filibustering for abortion rights seems unlikely in conservative Texas, although neither the fact that Davis is a woman or a Democrat would be new for the state. Texas had its first female governor, Miriam Amanda Wallace Ferguson, in 1925 and Democrat Ann Richards also briefly held the office in the early 90s before being defeated for re-election by George W. Bush. Still, many have accused Davis of running a purely testimonial campaign, a claim that has stung as she stays significantly behind her opponent in the polls.
That might explain a series of risky maneuvers made by Wendy as her campaign comes to a close, including making the bold move of aligning herself with President Barack Obama in a time when many Democratic candidates are hoping to distance themselves from the president’s low approval ratings, reported The Houston Chronicle.
“I’ve never backed away from President Obama… I would be thrilled if he or the Clintons — anyone — wanted to come and help. I’m very pleased that Michelle Obama was willing to record a radio ad for me and I’m very honored to have their support and the support of so many prominent Democrats across the country.”
Michelle’s assistance has been welcome in Wendy’s ads, though not all of Davis’ attacks on Greg have been so well-received. One such announcement irked some voters who claimed that it highlighted Abbott’s disability to make him appear unfit for the job by using a wheelchair as the video’s primary visual image. Abbott told The Washington Post that even he felt that Wendy’s ad was a low blow.
Davis is currently trailing her opponent by double-digit numbers — and that was before another social media flub that’s gaining press in the state right now. Earlier this week, Wendy’s social media team claimed a picture of young Republican volunteers as their own. The story has since been one of the dominating topics about the Texas gubernatorial race — not exactly great news for Davis coming on the heels of bad press from the wheelchair attack ad.
— Alex Smith (@AlexandraCSmith) October 22, 2014
Still, political scientists caution against branding Wendy’s entire campaign as a failure. Texas Democrats had high hopes that Hispanic voters would turn the tide in the state’s elections but the possibility of that is looking slim — which leaves Davis more than ten points behind Greg in the polls but on the same tier as most of her recent predecessors for the Democratic nomination, Rice University political scientist told Vox.
“No Democrat has come within 12 points of winning a statewide race here since 1998. Good Democratic candidates have lost by 12 to 14 points, and poor ones have lost by 30. When you look at who actually turns out to vote in the state, any Republican starts off with somewhere between a 10 and 15 point advantage.”
Do you think Wendy Davis sunk her chances of winning the Texas governorship? Or was it doomed from the start?
[Image via Flickr, Wikipedia]