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Wendy is Running: Five Tips for Davis in the Gubernatorial Race

Sen. Wendy Davis is taking a crack at the governor's seat
Sen. Wendy Davis is taking a crack at the governor's seat
Photo by Allison Hess

It's was unofficially official last week that Sen. Wendy Davis would run for governor, but Davis will make the official announcement today and the race is really on.

Ever since Davis donned her hot pink running shoes and proceeded to stand on the floor of the Texas Senate in a filibuster to block state abortion legislation, there have been rumblings of a gubernatorial campaign. Some think Davis is the first viable Democrat candidate for the seat in years.

Davis will likely face Houston's own State Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott, the Republican frontrunner, and with the seat at least somewhat in play for the first time in years, odds are good this race is going to be a particularly vicious bit of political scrapping. So Davis and her camp may want to keep some things in mind as it gets going.

1. Do wear the hot pink Mizuno Women's Wave Rider running shoes: Davis was just another Texas Democrat in the state legislature before she put on those running shoes, walked into the state capitol and proceeded to stand and talk for 11 hours. There were as many photos of her feet as there were of her face.

2. Do be up front about your backstory: Abbott's camp has already indicated that it will dig into Davis's past and try to use being a young single mother against Davis in her run -- she married at 18, had a kid and then got divorced and worked her way through school, graduating from Harvard Law. Also, it's just politics 101 to assume that if there's anything interesting in your background, it will get dug up. It will get talked about. Davis should be frank about where she comes from, about how her experiences as a young single mother shaped her. Get out in front of things, be open about them and they have less power to be used against you. Well, mostly.

3. Do be consistent in what you're saying out there on the campaign trail: It seems like it's all too easy to get caught up in that quagmire of politics, being a little too agreeable when you're out there asking for votes. In this day and age of instant media, Davis needs to keep in mind that the people she's talking to are telling it to the world, so if she declares she's for something at one meet and greet, it's best not to turn around and swear she's against it while shaking hands at a county fair.

 

4. Don't be the dullest thing ever seen live on stage: Bill White was good on paper as a Democrat candidate, and he was great in person. Until he got up on the podium, at which point it was hard to stay awake, let alone follow what he was saying. Politics is as much about showmanship as it is about what you're politicking for (again, see the hot pink running shoes.) If Davis gets onstage and is about as interesting as a turnip, her run will be a short one and she'll have as much of a shot at winning as an actual turnip.

5. Don't make fun of Dallas: Davis was born in Rhode Island but she moved to Fort Worth when she was 11 years old. The people of Fort Worth, much like those of Houston, seem to have a built-in urge to make fun of Dallas. That's part of why Fort Worthers and Houstonians get along so well, we have a mutual dislike. But Davis is trying to be governor of the whole state, and, hard as it will be, she's going to have to rein in the urge to crack jokes about D-town. (Question: Why do people in Dallas have to be careful when it's raining? Answer: Because their noses are so high up in the air, they might drown.)


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