On Tuesday, former Texas Senator Wendy Davis coasted to victory in her Central Texas congressional primary, securing the Democratic ticket to challenge Rep. Chip Roy this November.
A legend of progressive politics in the state for her 13-hour filibuster in 2013 against a regressive reproductive rights bill, Davis is easily one of the best-equipped congressional candidates this cycle to continue the successful Democratic offensive in the state’s Republican-held suburban counties.
Even before being elected as the nominee on Super Tuesday, Davis was already out-raising Congressman Roy in cash (so much so apparently, that he was recently whining about the lack of Republican money going into his own district).
During this past quarter, Davis outraised Roy by more than a 2 -to 1 -1 ratio and currently has equal amounts of cash on hand. Even more impressively, Davis has out-raised Roy by relying chiefly on donations of $100 or less and without the help of corporate PACs or lobbyists.
Roy, a former staffer of Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — which explains a lot — squeaked by into office in 2018 with a margin of three percentage points.
“Chip Roy has evidently gone to Congress to fight for an ideology, versus the day to day reality of what so many people across his district face,” Davis told the Signal in an podcast interview.
She highlighted two votes by Roy as an example of when he’s turned his back on residents of his district. First, his vote against lowering the income tax rate on Gold Star families collecting survivor benefits, and secondly, single-handily delaying a $19 billion disaster aid package, $4 billion of which was slated for Texas, simply because he didn’t like the timing.
Aside from his Jonathan Stickland-style antics in the House, Roy’s first year in Congress is also best known for his embarrassing and quite frankly bizarre meltdown on the House floor last May when he was upset about the fact that Democrats were raising concerns about rising drug prices at a time when drug company profits have ballooned.
When asked if she had seen the video that made headlines, Davis said yes.
“He showed his true colors,” she said, “siding with those pharmaceutical companies, taking great offense to the fact that they had been questioned as they had been questioned, and literally said to the pharmaceutical rep sitting at the table: ‘I’m glad you made a lot of money, I hope you make a lot more money.’”
Hill Country’s Texas 21st congressional district, which stretches from Austin to San Antonio, has been held by Republicans for 40 years. The Cook Political Report lists it as leaning Republican.
But it’s also one of several congressional districts in Texas where backlash to Trump, changing demographics, or retiring Republicans — or a combination of the three — are fueling GOP vulnerability.
Davis said it’s not just dissatisfaction with Trump or Roy’s congressional record that will see her succeed in November, it’s also the ideas her campaign is fighting for, including universal background checks, a public option for healthcare, and a $15 dollar an hour federal minimum wage.
She said that should she be elected, Texans, unfortunately, won’t be seeing any lengthy filibusters from her because of House rules, “but what you can expect is that the people who elect me to serve them will have a fighter in their corner every single time.”
Photo: Wendy Davis congressional campaign website
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org