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As another special session of the Texas legislature to ram through SB 5, the bill that would heavily restrict abortions in the state; the onus of attention still remains on Texas state senator Wendy Davis. Davis, whose legendary filibuster (that was stopped short but still successful) drew the eyes of the nation on her, has now achieved rockstar status that hasn’t been seen in the netroots since Elizabeth Warren announced her Senate campaign.
Also something that is noteworthy is that Rick Perry will soon announce his intentions on whether to retire from electoral politics, go for an unprecedented fourth full term (he also filled out the remainder of George W. Bush’s term after he rose to the Presidency) or maybe toss his hat into the ring for the 2016 Republican nomination for President. Given Perry’s disastrous 2012 presidential run and how he’s been Governor since the year 2000; its not hard to believe he’ll shy away from another run, which would mean by the end of his term he would be dangerously close to almost serving twenty years (!) as Governor.
However, predicting Rick Perry isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do and given how he had a barnstorming tour across the country trying to entice businesses to come to Texas; he might be opening himself up to a future run for some type of office.
Nonetheless, the public war of words between Perry and Davis have sparked speculation that the two of them might be engaging in debates later on. With Davis’s star reaching supernova status and the confirmation that she has turned from “rising star” to “national star”, Public Policy Polling decided to take another look at the 2014 gubernatorial race and found some interesting figures.
Here’s some quick blurbs from the latest PPP poll:
- Perry is still unpopular but is now seen favorably by 45% of voters as opposed to 41% in January.
- Perry has grown long in the tooth however, with 30% wanting him to seek another term with 60% preferring he stay on the sidelines.
- In a hypothetical primary with AG Greg Abbott, Perry leads 46% to 34% which is better than the narrow 41% to 38% lead PPP had him at in January.
- Wendy Davis is seen with a 39% to 29% positive favorability to negative favorability, which shows how well-known she has become (she was at 15%/19% in January).
- In a hypothetical general election however, Davis trails Perry 53%-39%. Other Democrats tested were San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (trails 43% to 50%), 2010 nominee and former Houston Mayor Bill White (trails 40% to 50%) and current Houston Mayor Annise Parker (trails 35% to 52%). Abbott only leads Davis by a 48% to 40% margin.
What does this tell us? That Texas might one day be a Democratic hotbed, and each year we will get closer and closer to seeing it becoming a potential battleground state, but its not close to being there yet. Davis has become a star and still trails a fairly unpopular incumbent by a double digit margin. Anything can happen in elections however and I would like to imagine that Rick Perry would be a better candidate to run against and the margins would narrow.
No one wants a regime, but nonetheless Texas is such a Republican stronghold as of now that even if Davis mounts a run; it will be incredibly difficult to topple a Republican in this state in 2014. However, even if she doesn’t find success in a gubernatorial run, Davis might be very important for the party. She could very well be the person that helps build the Democratic Party in Texas for the future.
Let’s face it, demographics can be great but you still need candidates. Wendy Davis could be that person that inspires future candidates to take the plunge in races and soon Texas won’t be a state that has Democratic candidates who were former state senators or perennial candidates.
The fact of the matter is, maybe we shouldn’t be pushing Davis into this run with an array of so many progressive candidates in races that might be more winnable.
However, if Texas is going to turn blue it has to start somewhere.