Wendy Davis, Joel Burns, and Political Dominoes

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Posted October 3, 2013 by Eric Griffey in Blotch
Photo by Jeff PrincePhoto by Jeff Prince

Hot on the heels of Wendy Davis’ announcement today at a rally in Haltom City that she will run for governor, Fort Worth city council member Joel Burns is contemplating running for the seat Davis will vacate in the Texas Senate. Today he released a teaser statement, saying that friends and supporters have urged him to consider running.

“I appreciate and am honored by the show of confidence and support from those who share my concern for our community and the need to continue strong, capable and responsible representation in Austin,” the statement says. “I will be talking with my family, constituents and with Tarrant County business and community leaders over the coming days and weeks about our future together and how we can best keep strong representation for Tarrant County neighborhoods while moving Texas forward.”

Davis and Burns have both felt the warm glow of the national spotlight recently: Davis for her pink-shoe-filibuster in June, and Burns for his “It gets better” stance against bullying.
The two Democrats are rising stars in the party, but many observers fear that their quest for upward mobility could leave them both out of office.

Davis beat Republican challenger Mark Shelton by a slim margin in 2012: She captured 51.1 percent of the vote to Shelton’s 48. And state GOP candidates are chomping at the bit to run (and raise money) for her vacated seat.

Recently, political journalist Dave McNeely, whose syndicated column occasionally appears in Fort Worth Weekly, pointed out the dilemma Davis faced in making the decision, and the stakes should the Dems lose her seat.

“Should she seek re-election in a Republican-leaning senate district, and try to continue as the safety margin in that body to keep the Republicans from running over Texas Democrats even more than they have?”

“Or should she give up the Senate, take the uphill Red-State challenge, and seek to become the first Democratic governor elected since Ann Richards in 1990? In a party with no coattails and dried-up grassroots, against Republican Atty. Gen. Gregg Abbott, who already has a bankroll of more than $20 million?”


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