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Texas Democrats Pin Hopes On Wendy Davis For Governor

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Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, famous for her 12-hour filibuster attempt against an anti-abortion rights bill, speaks at a fundraiser, Thursday, July 25, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) | AP

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) has not yet decided whether she will run for governor in 2014, but the state's Democratic Party is doing everything it can to make sure she does.

Texas Democrats kicked off their "I Want Wendy" campaign on Tuesday by asking state residents to sign a petition urging Davis to get into the race. The Fort Worth Democrat made a name for herself earlier this summer when she filibustered a sweeping anti-abortion bill for 11 straight hours.

"You can’t go anywhere in this state without hearing Texans say that they want Wendy Davis to be their next Governor," Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. "Texas is ready for a change -- and ready for a leader who will fight for good schools for our children, equal pay for equal work, and for healthcare for our families. Senator Davis is that leader."

Davis said at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., last week that she is considering challenging conservative Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in the race to replace Gov. Rick Perry (R), but she has not made a decision.

"I do think that in Texas, people feel like we need a change from the very fractured, very partisan leadership that we've seen in our state governor right now," Davis said at the National Press Club luncheon. "I can say with absolute certainty that I will run for one of two offices -- either my state senate seat, or the governor's."

In addition to fighting for reproductive rights, Davis is an advocate for affordable education, equal pay for women and counseling and treatment for veterans. She became a single mother at 19 and had very few financial resources, but with the help of student aid, she went on to graduate from Harvard Law School.

If Davis were elected governor, it would be a huge victory for Texas Democrats, who have not won a gubernatorial race in the state since Ann Richards was elected in 1990.

Davis has already drawn many comparisons to Richards, whose daughter Cecile -- the current president of Planned Parenthood -- would almost certainly throw her organization's political weight behind a Davis campaign. Abbott, the Republican candidate, is a staunch opponent of Planned Parenthood and recently investigated the organization for Medicaid fraud.

Davis faces an uphill battle running for governor as a Democrat in a red state, but her party seems to believe she can win.

"Wendy has faced long odds before -- and they've never stopped her," Hinojosa said. "But before she decides to run, we need to show her that we have her back. Texans are excited to do the work to elect Wendy as our next Governor."

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