Dave Montgomery Austin Correspondent
AUSTIN – The nation’s chief Democrat will be in Austin on Saturday for a fund-raising mission to bolster the party’s efforts to paint Texas in Democratic blue and build momentum toward a possible gubernatorial run by State Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth. Democratic National Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will headline a fund-raiser at Austin’s W Hotel to raise money for Texas Democrats, who have been aggressively urging Davis to run for governor next year. It was unclear late Friday if Davis planned to attend the Austin fund-raiser.
“Everything has to do with the governor’s race,” said Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, who has been leading the charge to recruit Davis as Democrats’ consensus candidate in next year’s governor’s race. The Fort Worth Democrat has amassed a nationwide political following after her much-watched Senate filibuster against a Republican-backed abortion bill.
Davis, who has been consulting with Democrats across the country, has said she will either run for governor or seek re-election to the Tarrant County senate seat that she won in 2008. She is expected to announce her decision shortly after Labor Day on Sept. 2. The fund-raiser was one of two Texas stops scheduled for Wasserman Schultz, a Democratic congresswoman from South Florida. She also planned a Saturday afternoon fund-raiser in San Antonio to raise money for the national party. Hinojosa said money raised from Wasserman Schultz’s Austin fund-raiser Saturday evening will help the party accelerate its efforts to rebound from years of losses at the state level . The last Democratic governor was Ann Richards, who lost to future president George W. Bush in 1994. a Wasserman Schultz’ visit was seen as the latest indication that national Democrats are beginning to pay attention to Texas as a potentially winnable state, particularly after Davis’ surging popularity. “They believe that the signs are there that Texas may be turning blue sooner than people thought,” said Hinojosa, “and the national party wants to do as much as it can to help as us get there.”