(CNN) – After weeks of buildup, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis formally kicked off a bid for governor Thursday on the same stage where she graduated from high school.
"All of you deserve to have your voices heard. Because our future is brightest when it's lit by everyone's star," Davis told an ebullient crowd of supporters. "That's why today, I am proud to announce my candidacy to be the 48th governor of this great state."
Davis famously catapulted to national attention in June when she staged a one-person filibuster in an effort to block legislation that restricts abortion rights. The filibuster managed to delay the bill but not kill it, with a special session of the state legislature called the next day by Republican Gov. Rick Perry specifically to take the bill up again.
That filibuster was clearly on Davis' mind Thursday, along with issues like education, accessible health care and a general sense of an unresponsive state government.
"In Austin today, our current leadership thinks that promises are just something you make to the people who write you big checks," Davis said.
"But the promises, the promise that I'm talking about is bigger than that. It's the promise of a better tomorrow for everyone."
Davis faces a long, hard fight to replace Perry, who has said he will not seek a fourth term and is thought to be mulling a presidential bid in 2016. Texas has had Republican governors since former president George W. Bush was elected to power in the mid-1990s. Under Bush and Perry, Texas has earned a reputation as a blood red state, business friendly and socially conservative.
8 glimmers of hope for Wendy Davis in her bid for governor of Texas
Going into the race, Davis' main focus appears to be education, spurred by her own story as a single mom at the age of 19 who decided to attend community college and ultimately graduated from Harvard Law School.
"I worry that the journey I made is a lot steeper for young Texans today," Davis said.
"College is more expensive, the choices for working families are fewer, and far too many young people yearning to continue their own educational journeys are turned down for grants and loans because state leaders have turned a deaf ear to their needs and blocked their paths."
Davis' most likely Republican opponent is Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a man who does not have nearly the name recognition of Perry.
In a statement, Abbott spokesman Avdiel Huerta responded to Davis's announcement: "once again, Texas Democrats are attempting to conjure support for California-style candidates that try to sell Obama's liberal agenda and go against what makes Texas great."
"Nonetheless, we welcome Senator Davis to the race, and look forward to presenting the clear differences and debating the important issues that will preserve the economic miracle in Texas," Huerta continued.
Davis can expect quite a bit of national support and national money because of her June filibuster. Minutes after an email went out to supporters formally announcing her candidacy shortly before the speech, Davis was endorsed by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and his political group, Democracy for America.
"Wendy Davis is the voice of reason for Texas," Dean said in a statement announcing the endorsement. "She has proven to be courageous and has the leadership to guide Texas back on track."
Go Wendy, we have your back
Wendy, the only reasoning candidate. Go Wendy!
May your campaign be succesful!
I am getting transferred to Texas for a promotion in the spring. I am WAAAAAAAAAY glad to see Ms. Davis running for gov. Maybe Texas will allow critical thinking again
I hope she makes it, and makes a good show of it while in office. Texan's need a break from the oppressive regime of Perry.
We are with you Wendy, all the way! The "economic miracle" that Huerta speaks of comes from oil. It will be a
tough fight, but there is more to Texas than oil, and a tremendous need for education reform.
Good luck, and stay true.
Thanks, Wendy Davis for your courage! It's gonna be a hard battle in my Good Ol' Rich Boys state, to stand for All of the people! Just know that your supporters are of the ilk not wanted by the GOTP, you know, women, minorities, gays, the poor, the ill, veterans, & those of us who support human rights, fairness & equality, in government as well as everyday life! This announcement couldn't come at a better time; it's the silver lining of the dark, rumbling, government shutdown cloud rolled in by the GOTP!!
I've got my working gloves on for Wendy. At the county level I will be doing everything possible to help elect Wendy Davis. I will work to get people registered to vote, I will give rides to those who need to get to the polls, I will make phone calls and work at fundraisers. I will go door-to-door and get out the message that Wendy Davis is what Texas needs to bring this state into the current century on women's issues, education, etc. Hopefully, with everyone's help, we can eventually turn Texas into one of the bluest states in the Union. Come on, fellow Texans, let's get to work!
Wendy doesn't stand a chance in a state like Texas.
We would love you here in California.
I hope that she is elected and can have lines like Ann Richards did. Do you remember "Poor George. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."
It won't be a an easy climb for Wendy , but this would be a dream come true to see the state of Texas progress after nearly two decades of regressive republicans being in power. Good luck Wendy, make Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan proud!
wendy / wendy / wendy / LOL – I will have to hand it to you. I will give you credit for the guts you have. Certainly you know that running for Gov in this state is like standing in the middle of a pond or lake with alligators up to your hind end. Hate to be a bearer of bad tidings, but if you make it, I will eat my hat.
Someone has to save Texas from itself and the likes of Mr. Cruz and Mr. Perry, Ms. Davis might be able to do that.
You have my support Ms. Davis, time to stop making Texas look like a bunch of backwards Hillbillies.
I think all the voices were heard and you lost just like your bid for the Governor will be lost too.
Go Wendy, right out of the state of Texas, and don't come back!!!!!
Never be elected Governor. No matter how many pictures she takes surrounded by children who were lucky enough not to be aborted. And "get Texas back on track"? Where is it off track, exactly?
Go get 'em, Wendy!
If I was in Texas , she would have my vote.
Rick Perry please run for president again , your as entertaining as a B Western movie .
Wendy Davis is a great candidate for Governor that can work with both sides of the aisle, like she has done as State Senator for the Fort Worth area, she won in areas that President Obama badly lost to Governor Romney, she is the Democratic Party's best chance for winning and is the best person for Texas.
LAst thing we need is another left Wing Liberal, screwing everything up. Besides Texans are too American to vote some one like her in.
Run my sister we need brains to lead us not ignorance.
Wendy Davis is a Texan through and through so I don't get the reference to a "California-styled candidate". She's a pretty blonde: what they don't have those in Texas? She's a working single mother: don't they have those in Yexas? She's A female that has a brain and she uses it to think for herself. Don' they have those in Trxas? Loo,k, she starts with the women's vote [including many GOP women]. Add the latinos, Africanm American and 40% of men [thje ones that take time to think] and she qwill be the next Governer.