Former state Sen. Wendy Davis is back on the trail this week — but not for one of her own campaigns.
Texas’ 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee is storming through Iowa to gin up excitement for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Clinton is holding steady with a double-digit lead in Iowa over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the Democratic primary contest. That state’s Feb. 1 caucus will mark the first time any voters will weigh in on the 2016 election.
Clinton lost the Hawkeye State in 2008 to Barack Obama. Leaving nothing to chance, Davis is one of a flurry of high-profile surrogates the Clinton campaign has sent to stump in Iowa on behalf of the former U.S. secretary of state. In recent months, Tony Goldwyn, who plays the president on television drama “Scandal,” and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, have campaigned for Clinton there.
Davis will not be campaigning with Clinton. Instead, the Clinton campaign schedule indicates Davis is viewed as a big enough draw in her own right to headline at least eight events over the next three days.
“She’s incredibly excited about the Clinton campaign,” said J.D. Angle, a longtime political adviser for Davis. “Wendy has always been a very strong Hillary Clinton supporter, all the way back to 2008.”
The former state senator from Fort Worth shot to national fame with her 13-hour filibuster against abortion regulations. But she’s kept a relatively low profile since her bruising statewide loss to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. Nonetheless, she remains a well-known figure among Democrats nationally.
No campaign deploys a surrogate without a strategy, and the goal with a high-profile politician is usually to motivate specific groups of voters — or in Iowa, caucus-goers — to turn out for a candidate. The Clinton camp is aiming for Davis to excite women, Democratic activists and those who care strongly about abortion rights, Davis’ signature issue.
Davis’ Iowa visit will take her to Democratic-leaning pockets of the state capital, Des Moines, and liberal strongholds in the eastern part of the state. For instance, many of her events will be in the district of U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, the lone Democrat left standing in the state’s delegation after the 2014 Republican wave.
While Davis has not ruled out a future run for office, her focus for now is to support Clinton in Iowa.
“No one thrives on or enjoys more the actual day-to-day, campaign-trail politics of getting to meet people around the state,” said Angle.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2015/12/17/wendy-davis-storm-iowa-hillary-clinton/.