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Filibuster fame nets Wendy Davis political donation windfall


Mike Stone / Reuters file

Texas State Democratic Senator Wendy Davis questions the state's Republican Senator Glenn Hegar, sponsor of HB1, as the state Senate meets to consider legislation restricting abortion rights in Austin, Texas.

DALLAS — Texas state Senator Wendy Davis has reaped nearly $1 million in political donations since she staged a nearly 11-hour filibuster that ultimately failed to stop the Texas legislature approving stringent new restrictions on abortion in the state, her office said on Monday.

Davis, 50, who is running for re-election to the state Senate in 2014 and has been called upon by some fellow Democrats to run for Texas governor, raised $933,000 in two weeks and now has more than $1 million in her campaign coffers, her campaign said.

With her filibuster last month, Davis drew national attention to the debate over a Texas bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, impose strict new health and safety standards on abortion clinics and limit use of the RU-486 drug to end pregnancies.

She managed to stall the bill to prevent its passage during a special session of the legislature. But Texas Governor Rick Perry called the legislature back to a second special session this month and state lawmakers approved the bill last week. Perry is expected to sign it into law soon.

Texas campaign finance reports, due by midnight Monday for fundraising in the first six months of the year, show that Davis has a large following in Texas as well as outside the state. She received donations from 15,290 contributors, her campaign said.

"Texans from around the state have been generous with their contributions, enthusiastic with their support, and committed to joining me in the fight for the priorities of Texas families," Davis said in the statement.

The report shows Davis raised $580,000 from Texas contributors and the balance of $353,000 from out-of-state donors. The majority of the funds were raised in the period after she staged the filibuster.

Should Davis decide to run for governor, she will face a formidable challenge from Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who announced on Sunday he would run for governor.

Abbott's campaign on Monday that announced that he raised nearly $4.78 million in two weeks and has a campaign war chest of about $23 million.

Abbott announced he would run less than a week after Perry announced that he would not seek re-election to a fourth term.

There are no declared Democratic candidates for governor. No Democrat has been elected to statewide office in Texas since 1994.