Sen. Wendy Davis

Sen. Wendy Davis narrows down options for political future

Speaking at a National Press Club event in Washington, State Sen. Wendy Davis responded to questions about her political future with her most specific answer to date.

“I can say for absolute certainty that I will run for one of two offices, either my state Senate seat, or the governor,” Sen. Davis said.

The response came during a question-and-answer session after an extended speech, in which Davis traced her political beliefs back through her own biography as a teenager from a struggling family, then a single mother.

Davis quickly shot into the national political scene in late June when her nearly 12-hour filibuster helped temporarily defeat a Republican-backed bill to severely restrict the state’s abortion providers.

The bill was eventually passed, but her fight catapulted her into the gubernatorial conversation for 2014. So far, no Democrat has officially entered the race for governor.


Wendy Davis responds to abortion bill signing

Shortly after Gov. Rick Perry signed a controversial abortion bill into law, Sen. Wendy Davis released a statement calling the move a potential turning point for voters.

“When Governor Perry signed the bill, he signaled a clear break with Texas families. Governor Perry and other state leaders have now taken sides and chosen narrow partisan special interests over mothers, daughters, sisters and every Texan who puts the health of their family, the well-being of their neighbors, and the future of Texas ahead of politics and personal ambitions.”

Sen. Davis played a key role in delaying the bill during the first special session. Her nearly 11-hour filibuster helped push a final vote past the midnight deadline, forcing Gov. Perry to call a second special session.

Capital Tonight: Alamo City announcements and Capitol contraband

Big Announcement

In Sunday’s show, we check in from San Antonio ahead of Attorney General Greg Abbott’s announcement. Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry appeared on CNN to reflect on his 13 years in office.

Reporter Roundtable

Between Gov. Perry’s speech Monday and Friday’s passage of a controversial abortion bill, it’s been another memorable week in state politics. Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune and Scott Braddock with the Quorum Report joined us to look back.

Political Future

There’s been a lot of talk about Senator Wendy Davis’ political future in light of the attention she gained from her abortion filibuster. Democrats are energized by the attention they’ve received, but can they carry that momentum through an election? Jim Henson from the Texas Politics Project joined us to share his analysis.

Capital Tonight: Wendy Davis talks current session, political future

Wendy’s Next Move

A week ago, a filibuster in the Texas Senate over abortion legislation was becoming an internet sensation. Hundreds of thousands kept track through television, online and through social media. Since then, the lawmaker who essentially talked the bill to death has become a national figure, now back in Austin with her colleagues for a second special session.

Tuesday, Sen. Wendy Davis joined us for a one-on-one interview covering the current session, her political plans and her thoughts during the filibuster.

Packed Public Hearing

The House State Affairs Committee heard testimony once again on a bill that would impose stiffer abortion regulations.

Nearly 2,000 people signed up to testify on the measure, but unlike last time, most of those who signed up to testify were firm supporters of the Republican-backed bill.

Big Announcement?

Plus, Gov. Perry is giving new hints about his political future. Our Capital Commentators weighed in on what it could mean, along with new poll numbers showing what a hypothetical head-to-head race between Perry and Davis would look like.

Poll: Davis, Perry get bumps following filibuster

A new Texas poll finds both Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis and Republican Gov. Rick Perry with higher approval ratings among potential voters following last week’s filibuster by Davis over abortion legislation.

The Public Policy Polling results show 39 percent of Texans have a favorable opinion of Davis compared to 29 percent with a negative one. The poll indicates that her net favorability is up 14 points compared to those polled in January.

The same poll indicates that while Perry remains unpopular with 45 percent of voters approving of him compared to 50 percent who disapprove, his net approval is also up since January, by 8 points.

In a hypothetical match-up between Davis and Perry in a run for governor, Davis trails the incumbent by 14 points. Of those polled, 53 percent support Perry and 39 percent support Davis.

In another hypothetical match-up, this one between Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott, the margin is closer. Abbott has 48 percent support to Davis’ 40 percent.

Of course, Perry has not yet indicated if he will run for re-election. Abbott is considered by many to be considering a run for governor, but it’s unclear if he would decide to take on Perry in the GOP Primary should the governor decide to run again. Davis has indicated she has thought about running for higher office, but has not committed to any future campaign.


Capital Tonight: Battle over abortion law continues

Loud and Clear

Lawmakers were slow to get started Monday, but demonstrators on both sides of the abortion issue were up early to make sure their voices were heard.

By noon, nearly 5,000 people had converged on the south steps of the Capitol in opposition to a package of abortion restrictions that could potentially close down all but five of the state’s abortion providers. Supporters of the bill showed up as well. An estimated 200 people walked through the halls of the Capitol to a press conference held by Republican Sen. Donna Campbell, where women who had gotten abortions spoke about why they regretted the decision.

Turning Tides?

Monday’s events can be viewed as being about more than abortion law. Many political pundits see Sen. Wendy Davis’ rising popularity as a sign of changing political tides in Texas. We spoke to the Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg about that and more.

Campaign Season

Plus, Attorney General Greg Abbott’s job could soon be available, and several Republicans are already eyeing his spot. We sat down with Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman about his potential candidacy.

Capital Tonight: Looking back at a pivotal week in politics

After the Filibuster

The first batch of bills has already been filed heading into the start of a new special session. While abortion is a big part of the agenda, it’s certainly not the only thing. We look at what lawmakers are expecting for round two.

Reporter Roundtable

Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster wasn’t the only big story this week. Between game-changing Supreme Court rulings and new friction among Republican officeholders, there’s plenty to talk about. Our Reporter Roundtable shares what stood out to them.

View from the Floor

Plus, Sen. Dan Patrick describes his view of Tuesday night’s events. As a candidate for lieutenant governor, he says he would have handled things a little differently.

Capital Tonight: More political fallout after abortion bill filibuster

Perry vs. Wendy

Gov. Rick Perry is giving his take on Tuesday’s failed bid to pass three bills before the special session deadline.

Speaking at the National Right to Life convention in Dallas, Perry talked about Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster, which effectively killed abortion restrictions he’d been pushing for. He referred to the night’s events as the “hijacking of the democratic process,” then made a comment about Senator Davis herself that some say went too far.

Going after Dewhurst

Sen. Dan Patrick is looking to move up the political ladder. He announced his bid Thursday as the “authentic conservative” candidate for lieutenant governor. It’s a move that could be seen as part of a bigger backlash against the current lieutenant governor.

After the Filibuster

Plus, immigration reform got a long-awaited vote in Congress, but despite the claims of both U.S. Senators from Texas, some local activists say the border security measures go too far.

Perry gets personal in remarks about abortion

The debate over abortion bills is moving beyond the Capitol walls, after remarks from Gov. Rick Perry veered into personal details about Sen. Wendy Davis’ life.

Speaking at the National Right to Life convention in Dallas, Perry talked about Davis’s Tuesday-night filibuster, which killed a package of abortion restrictions he’d been pushing for.

He referred to that night as the “hijacking of the democratic process,” then talked about Senator Davis herself.

“In fact, even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances,” Perry said. “The daughter of a single mother, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example.”

Senator Davis is pushing back against the governor’s comments. She released a brief statement in response:


“Rick Perry’s statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds. They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view. Our governor should reflect our Texas values.  Sadly, Gov. Perry fails that test.”

Capital Tonight: All eyes on Texas as new session is called

Back to Work

Summer isn’t starting just yet for Texas lawmakers.

After a grueling, 10-hour filibuster helped kill a controversial abortion bill, Gov. Rick Perry is telling lawmakers to get back to work. Wednesday, he announced that a second special session will start July 1. In addition to the abortion bill, the governor is adding back the two other issues that failed overnight dealing with transportation funding and juvenile justice.

Even after Republicans succeeded in ending Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster, confusion and the clock eventually doomed the bills, but the end result wasn’t immediately clear, even to lawmakers.

National Attention

As the filibuster stretched past the halfway mark, we had a chance to visit with Cecile Richards, the national president for Planned Parenthood, who flew in to lend support to Sen. Davis.

She talked about what her mother, the late Gov. Ann Richards, would have thought about the grassroots movement among abortion-rights advocates that reached the Capitol.

DOMA Decision

The Supreme Court has struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act and also dealt a blow to California’s gay marriage ban, in a ruling that will eventually allow same-sex spouses who are legally married to receive federal benefits.

We talked to a Texas couple about what the decision means to them.