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


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


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.

—  Dallasvoice

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


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

photo 1-1

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?

photo 3


—  John Wright

PHOTOS: LGBT activists speak during pro-choice rally at Dallas City Hall


Gay couple Mark ‘Major’ Jiminez and Beau Chandler, who gained notoriety last year when they were arrested for seeking a marriage license at the Dallas County Clerk’s Office, attend a pro-choice rally at City Hall on Tuesday night.

GetEQUAL TX was among the organizers of the Texans Unified for Change rally outside Dallas City Hall on Wednesday night.

About 50 people gathered to protest the anti-abortion bill working its way through the special session of the Legislature.

Activist Cd Kirven carried a wire hanger to symbolize women having to resort to dangerous methods of abortion.

Speakers included Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus co-chair Erin Moore and Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance President Patti Fink.

Moore, wearing pink Wendy Davis sneakers, encouraged the crowd to become more involved in politics to help get more people like Davis in office and those who oppose women’s rights out of office.

“It’s easy for men to write a bill to attack women’s rights,” Fink said.

—  David Taffet

Wendy Davis honored by Stonewall Dems before heading back to Austin

State Sen. Wendy Davis addreses protesters at a rally in Austin Monday. (Texas Democratic Party via Facebook)

State Sen. Wendy Davis addreses protesters at a rally in Austin on Monday. (Texas Democratic Party via Facebook)

Thousands of opponents of anti-abortion legislation stormed the state Capitol Monday to protest Republican-backed legislation reintroduced during the Legislature’s second special session.

The legislation would ban abortions after 20 weeks and close the majority of abortion clinics in the state that provide women with other services.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, has led the charge against the legislation since her 13-hour filibuster last week killed the legislation. Gov. Rick Perry then called a second special session to address abortion and transportation that started Monday.

Davis, who has been a champion for LGBT rights, was recognized for her hard work in Austin over the weekend at Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats’ Spring Extravaganza. About 150 people attended to hear Congressman Marc Veasey and state Rep. Chris Turner address key issues facing the state and nation.

Davis spoke briefly about her determination last week and the need to continue to fight in the weeks to come in the special session after she was presented with Tarrant Stonewall’s Hero Award.

Stonewall President Felipe Guttierez said the group voted on award recipients before Davis’ filibuster but said it demonstrated her commitment to her constituents and to Texas.

“I think it only added more to why she’s a champion for Senate District 10 and for women and our community,” he said.

Former Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Steve Maxwell received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Lisa Thomas received the Member of the Year Award.

—  Dallasvoice