Wendy Davis of Texas said Tuesday she is considering a U.S. Senate run in 2020 but is waiting to see whether another high-profile Democrat, Rep. Joaquin Castro, goes through with challenging Republican incumbent John Cornyn.
Davis hasn’t run for office since badly losing the governor’s race in 2014 following her star-making filibuster of an anti-abortion bill in the Texas Capitol, catapulting her into the national spotlight and making her a prominent voice for women’s rights.
She told The Associated Press she has urged Castro to run, calling him “uniquely poised” in Texas to give Democrats a chance at winning their first statewide office in 25 years. Castro said last week he was giving “serious” consideration to a Senate campaign but set no timetable for a decision.
Davis said she wants him to decide soon so that someone else — including her — could step up if he sits out. She said she also discussed a Senate run with MJ Hegar, an Air Force veteran who last year lost a close congressional challenge near Austin.
“I’m proud of the way that all of us are working together to decide how can we best beat John Cornyn. What’s the best approach? Who has the strongest opportunity?” Davis said. “As we answer that question, we are going to circle behind that person and do all we can to support them — whether it’s me, whether it’s MJ, whether it’s Joaquin, whether it’s someone else. You are going to see us come together cohesively.”
Davis sat in the front row Tuesday at a press conference in Austin with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was in Texas to headline a fundraiser dinner and promote proposals by Democrats in Congress to expand voting rights.
If she doesn’t go for Senate, Davis said it was unlikely she’ll run for Congress this cycle, pointing to no obvious seats around Austin for now.
Davis was a state lawmaker in 2013 when she laced up her now-famous pink sneakers and stood on the floor of the Texas Senate for 13 hours to temporarily block a sweeping anti-abortion bill. She energized Texas Democrats like few candidates in a generation, but a year later, was clobbered in the governor’s race by 20 points to Republican Greg Abbott.
Beto O’Rourke has signaled he won’t run for Senate again and has been promising to announce soon whether he’ll run for president in 2020. Castro is the chairman of Hispanic caucus in Congress and is the twin brother of Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro.
“He has demonstrated spectacular leadership. He has a real ability to inspire the Latino vote in this state,” Davis said of Joaquin Castro.
Cornyn has been in the Senate since 2003 and has never had a serious re-election challenge. He was the No. 2 Republican in the Senate before term limits forced him to step down from that leadership role this year.