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Personal Details

Wendy R. Davis is a former Democratic member of the Texas State Senate, representing District 10 from 2009 to 2015. Davis did not seek re-election to the Texas State Senate in 2014.

On September 26, 2013, multiple news outlets, including The New York Times, reported that Davis had decided to run for Governor of Texas in the 2014 elections. On October 3, 2013, Davis officially announced her decision to run for Governor. Wendy Davis lost the general election on November 4, 2014.

Davis received a bachelor's degree from Texas Christian University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

In addition to being a senator, Davis is also an attorney. Prior to her position in the state senate, Davis was on the Fort Worth City Council, where she worked closely with the Texas Legislature.

Policy Positions

Abortion Filibuster

On June 26, 2013, Davis led a filibuster of a controversial abortion bill under debate in the Texas State Senate that lasted for nearly eleven hours. Davis rose to speak at 11:18 AM and continued until 10:00 PM, when a Republican senator raised a point of order and argued that, since Davis went off topic, she must yield the floor. The presiding officer agreed, and ended the filibuster. Other senate Democrats used parliamentary procedures to stall the vote until after midnight when the session officially ended. Although the bill eventually came to a vote just after midnight and passed 17-12, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) announced that the vote was constitutionally invalid and that the bill did not pass.

The abortion bill eventually passed in a second special session, called by Governor Rick Perry (R) with the intent of passing the bill.

Post-filibuster fundraising

Davis reportedly raised $1.2 million for her campaign in the six weeks after her filibuster. About sixty percent of her donations came from within Texas, and nine of her ten largest donors were from Texas. Her campaign reported 24,000 donors, with an average donation of $52.

Campaign themes


Davis' website highlighted the following campaign themes: Job Creation – Economic Stability

  • Excerpt: "Job creation, job retention and stability for local economies are priorities for Senator Wendy Davis."


  • Excerpt: "Senator Davis believes providing an excellent public education system is the state’s most-important responsibility."

Easing family budgets

  • Excerpt: "Senator Davis continues to lead the charge against predatory lending in Texas, an industry that siphons money from our local economies and keeps many hard-working families trapped in a cycle of debt."

Veterans – Our Nation’s Heroes

  • Excerpt: "As a member of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs & Military Installations, Senator Davis is a recognized champion on behalf of our nation’s heroes living in Texas."

Truth in Budgeting, Honesty With Taxpayers

  • Excerpt: "Last session, Senator Davis fought the diversion of over $5 billion of funds that were collected from taxpayers for a specific purpose, and yet were diverted to the general fund to balance the budget, a diversion that betrayed Texas taxpayers’ expectations that money collected for a specific purpose should be used for that purpose."


Davis was a Democratic candidate for governor in 2014. She reportedly explored races for governor, lieutenant governor and Congress, but Davis told reporters that she would only be interested in running for her state senate seat or for governor in 2014. Several polls have asked residents whether they would vote for Davis for governor. Davis was urged by Texas Democrats and labor leaders to run for governor. In an email to supporters on September 18, 2013, David said she would announce her campaign plans on October 3.

On September 26, 2013, multiple news outlets, including The New York Times, reported that Davis had decided to run for governor. She made her official announcement on October 3, 2013.

Davis won the primary election on March 4, but lost the general election on November 11, 2014.


Primary election
Texas Gubernatorial Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngWendy Davis 78.1% 432,595
Reynaldo "Ray" Madrigal 21.9% 121,419
Total Votes 554,014
Election results via Texas Secretary of State.
General election
Governor of Texas, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Republican Green check mark transparent.pngGreg Abbott 59.3% 2,796,547
Democratic Wendy Davis 38.9% 1,835,596
Libertarian Kathie Glass 1.4% 66,543
Green Brandon Parmer 0.4% 18,520
Write-in Sarah Pavitt 0% 1,062
Total Votes 4,718,268
Election results via Texas Secretary of State


On her campaign website Davis listed four main issues of her campaign.

  • Education - "Too many of our public schools and universities are overcrowded and underfunded. Far too many of our students never graduate from high school." "Wendy is running for Governor so that every young person has access to the same opportunities that she did and so our future generations can make Texas even better than it is today."
  • Strong Economy: "Wendy knows that we must put Texans first when we talk about jobs and economic growth in our state. We must strengthen our working Texas families in order to protect the Texas we love."
  • Government Accountability: "In the Texas Senate, Wendy successfully championed legislation requiring corporations that receive government subsidies to return the money if they fail to meet their obligations. She supports measures to root out corruption and waste from government agencies. And she supports changes in the state budgeting process that ensure that taxpayers can see how every dollar is spent."
  • Veterans: "Our veterans should have access to education, get credit for the training that they received while in the service, and be welcomed back into the workforce in Texas. Wendy has worked to make sure that veterans, service members, and their families are provided every opportunity for a quality education. This includes college tuition exemptions, more college counselors available to help veterans, and strong support for Hazlewood benefits."
—Wendy Davis for Governor 2014 campaign,

Noteworthy events

Campaign biography

In January 2014, details came to light that cast doubt on the Davis campaign's narrative of her young adult life. A report in The Dallas Morning News found that Davis's first divorce was finalized at age 21, not 19 as she had previously said. Subsequent to that divorce, she lived with her daughter for "only a few months in the family mobile home" as opposed to the longer length of time that her campaign had previously implied.

Local commentators judged these to be important revelations because Davis's personal story was a key part of the her campaign's appeal.

Financial disclosure

On January 29, 2014, a reporter with conservative filed an ethics complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission, alleging several discrepancies between Davis' personal tax returns and her personal financial statements as State Senator from 2010 to 2012.


Davis ran in the 2012 election for Texas State Senate, District 10. Davis ran unopposed in the May 29 primary election and defeated Mark Shelton (R) in the general election, which took place on November 6, 2012.

Senate District 10 drew Republican interest in 2012, prompting large contributions to both candidates in District 10. In the last six months of 2011, Davis reported raising $569,162 in donations while her opponent, District 91 Republican incumbent Mark Shelton, raised $273,518.

Texas State Senate, District 10, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngWendy Davis Incumbent 51.1% 147,103
Republican Mark Shelton 48.9% 140,656
Total Votes 287,759


On Nov. 4, 2008, Davis won election to the 10th District Seat in the Texas State Senate, defeating opponents Kim Brimer and Richard Cross.

Davis raised $2,185,654 for her campaign while Brimer raised $1,891,603 and Cross raised $0.

Texas State Senate, District 10 (2008)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Wendy Davis (D) 147,832 49.91%
Kim Brimer (R) 140,737 47.52%
Richard Cross (L) 7,591 2.56%
EMILY's List