It's one thing to have the opposing party saying a candidate doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell (or a Democrat's chance in Texas), but when the candidate's own party signals it isn't so sure, now that has got to be awkward.
Case in point: State Senator Wendy Davis became a political superstar overnight after she staged a 12-hour filibuster in the state legislature to protest antiabortion legislation. She parlayed her pink-tennis-shoed stand into a run at the governor's seat, but in the past few months her campaign has, well, stumbled (sorry, it had to be done.)
The campaign has been criticized for poor handling of the media (dubbed "media fail" by the Texas Observer), her polling numbers are not good and despite her assurances last week that she believed the polls don't show everything (which can be true -- remember, Ann Richards had lousy numbers before she took the governor's seat in 1990) and that "something magical" would happen (less likely, unless she's keeping a magical wishing pony in reserve for November), national-level Democrats seem to be doubtful. The kind of doubtful that translates to them not giving money.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The big tip-off came this week when the head of the Democratic Governors Association, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, announced the list of races the association is focused on this election season. Davis's race against Abbott wasn't on the list, and this being the world of politics, that means something and it's nothing good. "We all understand Democrats haven't won Texas in a long time," Shumlin said when asked why Texas wasn't on the list, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Davis's camp didn't take kindly to being both dissed and dismissed by their own party. Davis campaign manager Karin Johanson told the San Antonio Express-News that "the uninformed opinions of a Washington, D.C., desk jockey who's never stepped foot in Texas couldn't be less relevant to what's actually happening on the ground." So yeah, Davis's people were not pleased.
Opponent Greg Abbott isn't coming through campaigning season unscathed -- he's been associated with the likes of Ted Nugent and has pretty much done the opposite of denounce Cliven Bundy after the rancher's big racist moment last week, plus his ideas on education are drawn from Charles Murray, an accused white supremacist who advocates college only for a select group of people, according to the Austin Chronicle -- but Abbott is still polling way ahead of Davis. It doesn't take a fortune-teller to divine that things aren't going well for those hoping to see a Democrat in the governor's seat for the first time in more than 20 years.
Of course, this doesn't entirely mean it's over for Davis -- there are months to go before the election and there could still be a Richards-esque upset that no one sees coming -- but in the immortal words of someone or other, it sure doesn't look good.