The lone star of Texas tells All In with Chris she “would be lying” if she said she didn’t have gubernatorial ambitions.
Tuesday, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis set out to conduct a 13-hour filibuster to stop Senate Bill 5, a restrictive abortion bill, from passing. Her performance made her an overnight political sensation: over 100,000 people tuned in to watch the filibuster and thousands tweeted along with the hashtag #StandWithWendy. She joined All In with Chris Hayes to reflect on her experience.
Strict filibuster rules barred Davis from meal or bathroom breaks; she had to stand the entire time without even leaning on anything for support. And she had to stay on topic. “It really wasn’t just a physical endurance but a mental one as well” she admitted to Chris Hayes on Wednesday night. But Davis was energized by the prospect of stopping the closure of 37 of the 42 state’s abortion clinics and blocking a ban on abortions past 20 weeks.
When asked whether or not she felt disrespected by her male colleagues Davis replied: “You know I did. I wish I could tell you that’s atypical here…We were talking about a group of primarily men who were coming together to make decisions about women’s healthcare and literally intruding upon private decision-making by women.” Davis started the filibuster at 11:18 am and and was slated to go until 12:00 am but was interrupted by Republicans claiming her comments on ultrasounds strayed from the topic at hand. Of Governor Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Davis told Chris, “They have overridden and made a mockery of all of the rules we run by in this state…What we saw yesterday was injury to that insult where Senate rules became meaningless.”
Closing in on midnight, Davis’ supporters and colleagues saved the day, raising points of order in their turn. Their cheers pulled her over the finish line and the bill did not come to a vote in time. ”Ultimately in that last 15 minutes of the evening, it became the People’s Filibuster. And they were loud and they were heard. And that is what democracy is about. And I was really proud of the way they conducted themselves,” a delighted Davis proclaimed.
Governor Perry said Wednesday that he would call another special session and try again to pass the abortion ban (as well as some transportation funding legislation). Davis issued a statement saying, “If they intend to keep pushing their extreme personal political agenda ahead of the interests of Texas families, I will not back off of my duty to fight.”
Now that she has a national profile, is the next step a run for the Texas governor’s house? “You know I would be lying if I told you I hadn’t had aspirations,” she said.
In other words, the #StandWithWendy campaign has only gotten started.