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Wendy Davis goes to Washington: Did Texas abortion fight create a new star?

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Ron T. Ennis/Star-Telegram/AP

(Read caption) State Sen. Wendy Davis applauds the crowd gathered in Fort Worth, Texas, to support the Stand With Women tour last week. The group spoke about the lack of statewide hearings on a tough abortion bill.

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There are rare cases when a local politician bursts onto the scene with such gusto that he or she manages to captivate a national audience and, almost overnight, inspire talk of a career on the rise. Barack Obama, with his 2004 Democratic National Convention address, did just that, setting him on a rapid ascent from Illinois state senator to US senator to becoming the nation’s first black president.

But just as often, those lawmakers tend to stumble somewhat on the way up – think Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida during his Republican Party response to Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address or Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean's cringe-inducing primary night scream in Iowa in 2004.

TexasWendy Davis – the telegenic state senator who captured the hearts of many Democrats across the country as the pink-sneakers-wearing Lone Star State mama who filibustered Republicans’ initial attempt to enact one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation – is the latest star in the making. Even after the Texas Legislature subsequently passed the bill she had worked so hard to sink, she is garnering national attention for her efforts.

Senator Davis is headed to Washington for fundraisers and meet-and-greets. Her visit later this month reinforces talk that she’ll launch a gubernatorial bid. And with Gov. Rick Perry (R) announcing earlier this month that he won’t run again, Davis is potentially primed for a 2014 battle for an open seat in a state that isn’t always friendly to liberals.

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