Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, who gained national fame with a 10-hour filibuster in June against an abortion-restricting bill, gave what sounded like a carefully crafted campaign speech Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
"I can say with absolute certainty that I will run for one of two offices" in 2014, Davis admitted to cheers, saying it will be for re-election to the state senate or to replace retiring Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas.
Perry, governor since 2000, is not seeking re-election in 2014. He was preceded by George W. Bush, who served for five years after defeating Democrat Ann Richards. Richards famously mocked Bush's father for being "born with a silver foot in his mouth."
Economic inequality and services for the poor would almost certainly be the key issues for Davis' gubernatorial campaign, she said.
Davis told attendees of being a young girl drafting letters for her disabled grandfather and recounted her life as a single mother living in poverty, rationing $1 pizzas and visiting pawn shops to afford baby food.
"Experiences like that can absolutely narrow your vision, crush your optimism," she said. The majority of Texans, she said, want to "build a state that is more star and less lone."
Davis went on to enroll in community college courses and ultimately graduated from Harvard Law School in 1993.
Although she didn't commit to running for governor, Davis' well-honed presentation indicates that she would likely present rare competition for the state GOP.
"We'll probably have to go to other states to import brainpower," she said, characterizing Texas' educational system as less-than-perfect.
She said voter turnout is "abysmally low" in Texas, and suggested "there's an opportunity" for Democrats.
Davis said "the nation was introduced to a force within our state" during the abortion debate. Rather than adhering to a monolithic conservative ideology, she said, most voters agree with her positions.
The proposed abortion regulations, banning most operations after 20 weeks of pregnancy, were ultimately adopted and signed into law by Perry. The filibuster was "a beautiful and powerful moment for democracy" nonetheless, she said.
Despite her pro-abortion rights fervency, Davis said Texas' large and traditionally Catholic Latino population should be attracted to Democratic candidates because of economic policy issues. "Those values translate across ethnic lines," she said.
Although she touted political compromise, she clarified: "I will seek common ground, because we all must, but sometimes you have to take a stand on sacred ground."