No Decision From Wendy Davis on CD 21 Campaign

“About three weeks” to weigh entering race to unseat Chip Roy

Despite reverberating reports overnight in the Twitterverse that former state Sen. Wendy Davis has indeed decided to run for Congress in TX-21 – currently held by Republican Chip Roy – Davis told the Chronicle this morning that she has not yet made a decision.

Wendy Davis (Photo by Jana Birchum)

“I intend to make a decision, and then an announcement about the decision, probably in about three weeks. Very soon,” she said. “For me, I need to decide whether it’s best for me and my family, first and foremost. And secondly, whether I’m the best person to take this challenge on.”

There were conflicting reports emanating from a Texas Observer gala Thursday evening. Forrest Wilder of Texas Monthly, Gus Bova of the Observer, and Lauren McGaughy of the Dallas Morning News each reported on Twitter a statement from Austin businessman Marc Winkelman (given the evening’s Philanthropy Award) that Davis had told him that she intended to challenge Roy (i.e., run for the Democratic nomination). Davis was also in attendance – a subsequent Tweet from McGaughy said she had since talked to Davis, who told her that she had not yet made a decision.

Nevertheless, the non-announcement announcement quickly went viral.

“I was really caught off-guard,” Davis told me this morning. “Marc is a very, very dear friend, and he’s been encouraging me, but he jumped the gun a little bit.”

Davis said she does believe Roy needs to be challenged by a Democratic opponent, in the district that runs from Austin, through the Hill Country, to San Antonio. “He’s demonstrated he is not representing the values of the people in this district and in Texas,” she said. “It’s clear we need to take him on, but I need to make the decision whether I’m the right person to do that.”

Roy made headlines recently by single-handedly delaying – via a procedural objection – a $19.1 billion federal disaster aid bill that included more than $4 billion in already long-delayed funding for Hurricane Harvey reconstruction. The bill finally passed early this week. Davis said she believes there are other potential candidates also looking at the race, but as yet no Democrat has announced.

UPDATE: The morning email brings a correction. Jennie Lou Leeder has also announced for the Dem nomination in CD21, and yesterday released a statement demanding Roy's resignation, for "blocking numerous pieces of legislation that would provide relief to families in need, including flood relief victims, Gold Star families, seniors, and federal workers."

In 2018, Leeder ran against CD11 GOP incumbent Mike Conaway, garnering 18% of the vote. Leeder describes herself as "a Texas native, democratic activist, and swim coach, with deep roots in Texas’ 21st Congressional District dating back to 1882 when her relatives purchased their family home in Kerr County." (We've reached out to Leeder's campaign, and will follow with additional reporting in due course.)

“Before I decide,” Davis reiterated, “I want to be sure I’m the best person.”

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Election 2020, Wendy Davis, Chip Roy

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