With one week of early voting left before Election Day, State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, took the microphone in front of a packed SAC Ballroom and encouraged students to vote during her on-campus stop in her gubernatorial campaign.
“For the first time in 14 years, we are going to elect a new governor,” Davis said. “The question is who will that governor be, and the answer is in all of your hands. It’s truly up to you at this point.”
Before Davis spoke to her audience, her 25-year-old daughter, Dru Davis, thanked the crowd of students and locals for their support.
“I’m so excited by the voter turnout and the enthusiasm that you guys have,” Dru said. “I’m also looking forward to Election Day. I’m just excited for all the change that my mom’s going to bring as governor and that Leticia [Van de Putte] is going to bring as lieutenant governor.”
With last week’s UT/Texas Tribune poll showing Davis trailing her gubernatorial opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, by 12 points, Davis said she was unconcerned about her low polling numbers. Davis said her victory would come from her supporters and volunteers.
“We have over 32,000 people volunteering on our campaign right now,” Davis said “These Internet polls really have shown to be wildly inaccurate. In my last two senate races, I was never up in the polls either, but I won. I won because the people were behind me.”
Chris Riley and Kathie Tovo, Austin City Council members and candidates for the Council’s District 9 seat, attended Davis’ rally, sporting their own campaign pins on their lapels. Riley walked around speaking to audience members and shaking hands.
“I’ve been talking with a lot of people this morning,” Riley said. “There’s a lot of energy around this whole election and a lot of commonality between the themes that Wendy and I have been talking about in this race.”
After the event, Tovo said she attended the rally to show her support for Davis.
“I’m very supportive of her campaign, especially … her policy regarding education and women’s health are critical,” Tovo said. “I have a lot of hope for the work she will do when she’s elected our governor.”
Shelley Merchant, a parent of a prospective UT student, stood toward the back of the compact crowd. She said she heard about Davis’ event on campus while touring UT.
“I’m a big Wendy supporter,” Merchant said. “I’m a school administrator in White Settlement, Texas — a suburb of Fort Worth. I think she’s looking out for the teachers and the rest of us, and it’s a time for a change in Texas.”
Davis emphasized her support for education reform.
“When I marked my ballot on Monday, and I stood in that ballot box marking my name, I could not help but reflect on myself as a little girl,” Davis said. “If I could have told her she would be standing in that moment in time, it’s that opportunity and that path that I want to make possible for every single child in that state. And the only way to make that possible is to support access to college and affordability of college.”
Nutrition senior Jessica Boisseau went straight from Davis’ rally to vote. Boisseau said Davis’ stance on education inspired her.
“I think she is the only candidate willing and able to provide change,” Boisseau said. “I’m working three jobs. One of them is part-time military to pay for school, so her campaign is very exciting.”
According to an Abbott campaign official, Abbott, who is currently on a 25-city “Get Out The Vote” tour, has not planned a UT appearance before Election Day on Nov. 4. Early voting continues until Friday.