The dramatic one-woman filibuster that kept Internet geeks spellbound into the wee hours of Wednesday morning and the Texas state Senate from enacting one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the nation highlights the passionate — and well-funded — liberal streak that runs through one of the most Republican states in the union.
Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, whose refusal to yield the floor for 13 hours on Tuesday prevented passage of a bill that would have banned the termination of any pregnancy past 20 weeks in Texas, is a Fort Worth lawmaker whose battles to hold onto a seat in Republican-leaning territory have made her a prolific fundraiser.
Texas Sen. Wendy Davis
Her Influence Explorer profile shows she raised more than $6.5 million as of the end of last October. Most of the money came from Davis' fellow lawyers (her website says she bootstrapped her way from single motherhood at age 19 to a Harvard law degree). Davis' second biggest contributor was Annie's List, a Texas organization that raises money for Democratic women running for office.
Of the better than $1.4 million Davis raised from the legal community, more than one-fourth came from the Mostyn Law Firm. Its founder, Steve Mostyn, is head of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and a prolific giver to Democratic causes, and an outspoken opponent of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Though Texas has been solidly Republican at a statewide and presidential level for decades, evidence of its history as a Democratic state is embodied in one of the most outspoken supporters of Davis' filibuster: Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood. Her mother, the famously tart-tongued Ann Richards, was the last Democrat to sit in the Texas governor's chair.
Texas gave more money to last year's presidential candidates than all but one other state — California — last year. according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. And while more than half of that money went to Mitt Romney, there were enough Texas Democrats to fill the hat with $15 million for President Barack Obama.