Let’s start by stating the obvious: It is hard for a Democrat to win statewide office in Texas today. Recently, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a
Democrat from San Antonio, pointed out that Texas has gone longer than any other state in the union without electing a Democrat to high office. Which makes Wendy Davis’ ascent in the Texas governor’s race all the more impressive.
This week, a new poll showed Sen. Davis within just seven points of her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott. The poll shows that 42 percent of Texas voters back Davis, compared to 49 percent for Abbott. Now, put in the context of the 2002 Texas gubernatorial election—in which Republican Rick Perry won by almost 18 points over his leading Democratic rival—and the seven percent gap between Davis and Abbott is impressive. In the context of previous polls that showed Abbott widening his lead over Davis, this new poll is even more stunning. Wendy Davis has a serious shot at becoming the next governor of Texas. …
I’m not saying Texas is 100 percent there yet, but I am saying that it’s headed in that direction—and Davis’ path to victory appears to hinge on bridging that transition, bringing along enough of the center-left working class white male vote while maintaining strong support among women and young people and the future of Texas politics. That her candidacy is faring as well as it is already is a sign of the bright purple Texas to come.