AUSTIN (KXAN) - State Sen. Wendy Davis will officially announce next week that she'll seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014, a source familiar with the Fort Worth lawmaker's plans confirmed to KXAN Thursday.
Unnamed Democratic sources were also telling national outlets the same thing. The Davis campaign declined to comment directly on the senator's plans.
The news Davis will seek the state's top office has been foreshadowed for more than a week, stemming from Davis' email to supporters to sign up for a first-to-know message. Davis emerged from last the legislative session as Texas' best-known Democrat and the party's best hope to end its two decades in the Texas wilderness.
Since her 11-hour filibuster in June of a bill to restrict abortion rights, Davis has raked in big-dollar campaign contributions and made herself available to countless political television shows.
And as recently as Wednesday, Davis' political operation sent emails to those signed up for the first-to-know notice a reminder that the announcement is planned for Oct. 3 at an as-yet undisclosed venue. The latest email also includes an online link to the contribution page on her website.
"Wendy is going to announce her next move in just 8 days," the email says. "She's got a vision for the future of Texas that drives everything she does. Making sure Texas children get a quality education. Helping Texas families get healthcare they can afford. Securing fair pay for Texas moms and dads alike."
So far, the 50-year-old lawyer is the only Democrat mentioned as a serious contender for the nomination. Long-serving Gov. Rick Perry has said he's stepping aside, leaving the Republican contest to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and former state GOP Chairman Tom Pauken.
That sets the state for Texas' first wide open governor's race since Democrat Ann Richards, then the state treasurer, faced off with West Texas oilman Clayton Williams in 1990.
Richards won that race, but it prove to be a high-water mark for Texas Democrats that hasn't been matched since.
George W. Bush wrested the Governor's Mansion from Richards four years later, and Republicans began picking off a handful of the down-ballot races as well. By 1998, the GOP would sweep all statewide races, solidify control of the Texas Senate, and chip away at the already-shrinking Democratic majorities in the Texas House and in the state's congressional delegation.
Four years after that, the Republican takeover of Texas was complete and the Democrats have been the minority party since.
Despite palpable enthusiasm for Davis in the Democratic base, most observers across the spectrum see the 2014 contest as a steep hill to climb for the long-suffering party.
President Barack Obama lost Texas by wide margins in 2008 and again last year. The Democratic infrastructure is far from solid, even though veterans of Obama's national campaign have set up grassroots operations in Texas since last November.