Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis doesn’t tell “Vogue” in its upcoming issue that she is running for governor, but she does say the race will be competitive if she decides to go for it.
“I’m a very competitive person,” said the Democrat, who became an instant sensation when she donned pink sneakers and filibustered for 12 hours to protest anti-abortion legislation in the Texas State House. “You won’t change things unless you are prepared to fight, even if you don’t win. But I do hate losing.”
Politics wasn’t always a priority for Davis, 50, who recalls her life story for the magazine – from single divorced mom at age 19 living in a trailer park to Harvard Law School to overnight celebrity. She said she remembers socializing in her 20s with her second husband, Jeff Davis, a Fort Worth city councilman at the time, and dreading the ensuing conversations.
“I remember we’d go into restaurants and everyone wanted to talk politics, and I thought, God, this is soooo boring,” said Davis, who traded her famous sneakers for high heels in the profile’s lead photo.
After graduating from Harvard, she worked in a private law firm in Fort Worth, saying public service wasn’t on her radar.
“I truly wanted to be the person with a nice suit and a briefcase. I wanted to make money,” she said.
But in a few years politics beckoned. She ran for a seat on the Fort Worth City Council, and lost by 90 votes. But she tried again in 1999, and won.
Davis said she draws inspiration from her father, who moved her family often during her childhood – even though he left the family shortly after settling them in Texas when she was 11.
“My dad is truly the person who always made me believe in myself, to appreciate that I was smart,” she said.
Davis has been mentioned as a popular Democratic pick to run for governor next year. And with Republican Gov. Rick Perry saying he won’t seek re-election, Democrats are eager to find a strong candidate who can challenge for the seat in the heavily Republican state.
A July Public Policy Polling survey of a hypothetical gubernatorial race between Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbot, the likely GOP candidate, showed her trailing by only 8 percentage points – a respectable margin for a Texas Democrat running for a statewide office.
The 3,000-word profile appears on page 830 of the 902-page September issue, which hits newsstands Aug. 20.