After her easy victory in the Texas Democratic primary, Wendy Davis, one of the brightest stars of the 2014 campaign, is now embarking on her mission to win the governor's office and revive her party's fortunes in the heart of conservative America. Already, Texas politics has never seen anyone like her: a dynamo with a trailer park-to-Harvard Law story who makes nationwide donors swoon.
But Davis' chances in the general election in November remain a longshot: she faces a Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, the state's attorney general, who would be formidable even without the advantage of Texas' solidly conservative electorate.
Abbott, who uses a wheelchair, has his own compelling against-the-odds biography, personal appeal as a campaigner and proven fundraising power. As the race restarts, he appears to have a significant edge in polls and fundraising.
Davis says she's undeterred.
"I can see and feel, every day on the campaign trail, an energy in this state around my campaign that's hard to describe. It's not like anything I've seen in Democratic politics in the last couple of decades," Davis said this week.
Others take a dimmer view.
"It's not a race," said Ford O'Connell, a Houston native and Republican strategist who was an adviser to U.S. John McCain's presidential run in 2008. "Essentially this is more about Democrats saying they're expanding the maps and making baby steps toward progress."