Wendy Davis: I’m running!

Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 5.04.30 PMBefore speaking to hundreds of supporters Thursday afternoon, state Sen. Wendy Davis announced her intentions to run for governor in an email to media.

The Fort Worth Democrat later addressed the large group at Wiley G. Thomas Coliseum in Haltom City, where she graduated from high school.

“We’re here because we believe it’s time to give all Texans a voice in their future and in a place in Texas’ future,” Davis said amid chants of “Wendy, Wendy” from the crowd.

“We are all here because we love Texas and we it’s time for a leader who will put Texans first,” Davis said.

She touched on her education filibuster in 2011 that restored millions to public education and said every Texan deserves “the promise of a better tomorrow.”

“Texans deserve a leader who will protect this promise,” Davis said. “Texans deserve a leader who will keep it.”

While Democrats are eager for Davis to turn Texas blue, a new poll by Texas Lyceum, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, shows half of voters haven’t decided whether to support her or Attorney General Greg Abbott, who’s the favorite for the GOP nomination.

Of the voters who’ve made up their minds, Abbott leads Davis by 29 percent to 21 percent.

The poll surveyed 800 registered voters from Sept. 6-20. It has a plus or minus 3.47 percentage points.

Davis has been a longtime supporter of the LGBT community.

After her announcement, Abbott released a statement:

“Once again, Texas Democrats are attempting to conjure support for California-style candidates that try to sell Obama’s liberal agenda and go against what makes Texas great. Nonetheless, we welcome Senator Davis to the race, and look forward to presenting the clear differences and debating the important issues that will preserve the economic miracle in Texas.”

For more on the race, see Friday’s Dallas Voice.

—  Anna Waugh

Wendy Davis to return to roots to announce her governor bid

State Sen. Wendy Davis addresses the crowd at the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats Spring Fundraising Kick-off Party in Fort Worth Wednesday, May 23. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Sen. Wendy Davis

State Sen. Wendy Davis plans to announce her future political plans next Thursday at Wiley G. Thomas Coliseum in Haltom City, where she graduated from high school.

Davis made the plans public in a media advisory Thursday evening, but didn’t say which office she’ll be running for — either her Senate District 10 seat or governor. But there was no need. Sources have been saying she’d run for the Democratic nomination since before she postponed an announcement when her father became ill.

And sources are again confirming that the senator, who shot to stardom after an 13-hour marathon filibuster this summer to block an abortion bill, will indeed run for governor.

The race, with Attorney General Greg Abbott running as the Republican favorite, is sure to be an ugly fight. Abbott has tirelessly fought against the LGBT community in situations like the two gay divorce cases now at the Texas Supreme Court and issued an opinion earlier this year that said he thought domestic partner benefits violated the state’s marriage amendment.

Davis, on the other hand, has been an LGBT champion, from voting for Fort Worth’s nondiscrimination ordinance when she served on the City Council to fighting for LGBT-specific protections in the state’s anti-bullying law in 2011.

Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns, who’s openly gay and took Davis’ council seat when she ran for the Senate, is a favorite to replace her again in the Senate.

Burns has said he will not comment on the race until Davis makes her plans official.

—  Anna Waugh

Wendy Davis says she’ll announce possible governor bid on Oct. 3

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Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer

State Sen. Wendy Davis announced today that she’ll make an announcement about her political future — and a possible governor run — on Oct. 3.

The Fort Worth native and LGBT ally was the talk of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas meeting Tuesday.

The Texas Democratic Party’s new Executive Director Will Hailer addressed the group and hinted that Davis will run for governor.

Hailer moved to Texas from Minnesota in May and since his arrival the party’s staff has increased from four to 21. He said he expects to double that as the 2014 election approaches.

His experience includes the election that saw the defeat of an anti-marriage amendment in Minnesota by 10 points that led to the state becoming a marriage-equality state within six months.

In his first few months at the helm of the party, Hailer said he’s traveled around the state visiting Democratic clubs.

“People are fired up,” he said.

His strategy to take a statewide office for the first time in 20 years is to do what Democrats did in Minnesota.

“Have neighbors talking to neighbors,” he said.

And talk about the issues. He said Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a statewide Lilly Ledbetter bill. He wants to talk about equal pay for women.

He wants Democrats to talk about healthcare, affordable education, clear air and clean water.

“Talk about our values,” he said. “We can’t let Republicans bully us anymore. We believe in equality and the right to marry who you love.”

He said Texas is not a Red State but a non-voting state and is planning massive voter-registration and voter-turnout drives.

Hailer described the ticket he’d like to see on the 2014 statewide ballot.

“I think we need a woman from Fort Worth,” he said, but then stopped short. “I’m not making an announcement.”

But he said an announcement would come shortly, and it seems it will.

This morning, Davis sent out an email to supporters.

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

On October 3rd, I’ll be answering that question. And as part of my dedicated network of grassroots supporters, you will be among the very first to find out.

So look for her announcement on Oct. 3. And just an observation: No one does this type of build up to announce they’re not running.

—  David Taffet

Wendy Davis may announce her intention to run for governor this week

State Sen. Wendy Davis addresses the crowd at the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats Spring Fundraising Kick-off Party in Fort Worth Wednesday, May 23. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

State Sen. Wendy Davis

State Sen. Wendy Davis may announce her poltical intentions to run for governor later this week.

She had planned an announcement on whether she would run for re-election to her Senate seat or for governor after Labor Day until her father became ill. He died earlier this month.

Davis’ father was Stage West founder Jerry Russell.

To run a competitive campaign against Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is seeking the Republican nomination, Davis would need to raise at least $40 million. Advisers are confident she would be able to do that.

Davis sent the following announcement to supporters and followers today:

—  David Taffet

Stage West founder Jerry Russell, father of state Sen. Wendy Davis, dies

JerrRussellJerry Russell, an accomplished local actor and founder of Fort Worth’s Stage West theater, died peacefully in his sleep overnight. He was surrounded by family including his daughter, state Sen. Wendy Davis. He was 77.

Sen. Davis, D-Fort Worth, recently postponed an announcement about whether she plans to run for governor in 2014 due to her father’s illness.

Russell entered the hospital for a surgical procedure last week, but developed complications following a bout of pneumonia.

Russell founded Stage West, one of Fort Worth’s most acclaimed theater companies, in 1979 out of his European-style sandwich shop. It grew exponentially over the years, doubling its audience with each show in its first year alone, eventually becoming a go-to place for edgy modern productions. Along with regulars including Jim Covault and Dana Schultes, Russell also was one of the regular performers the Stage West, turning in many memorable performances while also directing many of the shows, but it wasn’t just there that he found success. Russell performed in many area theaters, often at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas (memorably in On Golden Pond and Visiting Mr. Green).

He passed away leaving a legacy of memorable performances and tremendous artistic integrity. Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Wendy Davis delays announcement on whether she’ll run to focus on family

Davis.Wendy

State Sen. Wendy Davis

It’s no secret that state Sen. Wendy Davis is the favorite candidate among Democrats for governor in 2014, but the public will have to wait a little longer for an announcement on whether she’ll run.

Davis was expected to announce her future plans after Labor Day on whether she was going to run for her Senate seat again or for governor, but her father’s health has made her delay the decision until at least the end of next month.

Davis’ father, Jerry Russell, has been in critical condition at Fort Worth’s Harris Methodist Hospital after complications from recent abdominal surgery that turned into pneumonia. In light of this, David told the Texas Tribune she was postponing an announcement to focus on her family.

“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,” she said. “It’s likely it will be late September before I do.”

A longtime LGBT ally, Davis’ decision will have a great impact on the LGBT community. If she runs for governor, openly gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns would be the likely Democratic challenger to the many Republican candidates who have announced they plan to challenge Davis for her District 10 Senate seat.

—  Anna Waugh

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott endorses anti-LGBT discrimination

Texas AG Greg Abbott

Greg Abbott

Greg Abbott is at least 13 years behind Wendy Davis on gay rights.

In a move that highlights his differences on LGBT issues with his potential Democratic opponent in the 2014 Texas governor’s race, Abbott on Monday came out against a proposed ordinance that would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in San Antonio.

Thirteen years ago next month, state Sen. Davis, who was then a member of the Fort Worth City Council, voted in favor of an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations. (The Fort Worth ordinance was amended to include transgender protections in 2009, following the Rainbow Lounge raid.)

Austin and Dallas have also had similar ordinances for years, but a proposal to be voted on next month in San Antonio has generated plenty of controversy. According to The Dallas Morning News, Abbott believes the San Antonio ordinance “would run afoul of the Texas Constitution, which was amended in 2005 to define marriage as between a man and a woman.”

“Religious expression is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and this ordinance is also contrary to the clearly expressed will of the Texas Legislature,” Abbott said. “Although the proposal has been couched in terms of liberty and equality, it would have the effect of inhibiting the liberty of expression and equality of opportunity for San Antonians.”

Abbott joins three Republicans who are vying to replace him as attorney general in coming out against the ordinance, and his position is hardly surprising. As AG he’s intervened in court to block gay couples from divorcing in Texas, and earlier this year he issued an advisory opinion saying he believes domestic partner benefits offered by local government entities are illegal.

Davis has said she’ll decide whether to run for governor in 2014 or seek re-election to her Senate seat sometime after Labor Day.

—  John Wright

Joel Burns may seek Wendy Davis’ Senate seat if she runs for governor

JoelBurnsParty86

Last week we mentioned that if state Sen. Wendy Davis decides to run for governor, one of the possible candidates to replace her in the Senate would be openly gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns. At the time, however, Burns wasn’t commenting on a a possible bid for Davis’ District 10 seat in Tarrant County.

But this week, Burns told The Dallas Morning News (subscription required) “that he’s been approached by operatives about a possible campaign to replace Davis.”

“It’s something that I have thought about,” Burns said. “But until she decides what she wants to do, I can’t give it more than that.”

—  John Wright

WATCH: ‘Blurred Lines’ parody just made for left-leaning Texans

This is a funny parody of Robin Thicke’s viral “Blurred Lines” video, for a few reasons: First, it’s about Fort Worth’s Wendy Davis. Second, it continually calls Rick Perry a dick. Third, unlike Thicke’s video, it objectifies men, which we’re all in favor of. (And if you like it, there are plenty of sexy-men-filled versions on YouTube.) Enjoy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Wendy Davis signs Chance Browning’s ‘Gays for Vajays’ sign

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Not surprisingly, our Chance Browning was busy standing with Texas women and Wendy Davis all over the Metroplex on Wednesday, and even less surprisingly, Browning and pal Andrew Phifer fenagled a photo opp with their latest political crush. They even convinced her to autograph Chance’s “Gays for Vajays” sign, below. Is there no end to the pricelessness?

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—  John Wright