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Davis is in for SD10

Fort Worth City Council Member Wendy Davis, one of two potential candidates to run against vulnerable State Sen. Kim Brimer, has resigned her Council seat and announced her intention to run next year.

Davis has represented the city’s District 9 since 1999. A nonpracticing lawyer, she is chief executive of the Fort Worth division of Republic Title.

Davis will run as a Democrat. Brimer is a Republican.

In a tearful speech, Davis told the council that she feels compelled to fight special interests in Austin. “Texas is ready for change,” she said. “The partnership in Austin is badly broken.”

Davis joins Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairman Art Brender as possible contenders to try to unseat Brimer, who has represented state Sentate District 10 since 2003. Brimer was a state representative from 1989 to 2003.

Texas Senate District 10 includes part of Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield, Colleyville and other portions of south and Northeast Tarrant County.

Welcome to the race, Council Member Davis. You’ve already picked up one fan in Austin.

Brender was already on the attack Thursday night, criticizing Davis for voting in the 2006 Republic primary.

“I believe like Harry Truman if you run a Republican against a Republican, the Republicans will win every time,” he said.

I can’t speak for anyone in Tarrant County, but this line of attack, at least at this point in time, falls flat for me. What matters to me isn’t so much how Wendy Davis identified in the past – would anyone call Jim Webb a Republican today? – but how she identifies now, and how that affects her beliefs and intentions. If she plans to run some kind of Republican Lite campaign based on some kind of mushy arguments about electability, then you can sign me up for Art Brender’s camp. But if she plans to make a priority out of things that I believe are important, then how she voted in the past is less of an issue. I look at it this way: We Democrats are never going to be a majority in this state unless we convert a few Republicans as we go. The best way to demonstrate that it’s okay to change sides and that you’ll feel welcome once you do is to have a few of those converts make the case for switching by running on the Democratic ticket. (See, for example, Kansas for a vibrant illustration of this.) As long as the Wendy Davises are out there speaking our language, it’s all good.

Which is not to say that I’m sold on Wendy Davis yet. I’ve not heard her make her case; neither have I heard Art Brender make his. But hey, that’s what a contested primary is for, right? May the strongest candidate win, and may he or she take the fight to Kim Brimer, whose misleading and somewhat panicked response (PDF) to the original Lone Star Project report – leavened with a heaping helping of “Hillary, please come energize my lethargic base and save my bacon!” – shows that he’s ready to be taken.

BOR has more, with comments going both ways on Davis. Again, all I’m saying is let’s see how she runs and what she runs on. Changing minds is good, and if that’s what she’s done, then she deserves due consideration. If not, be happy there’s a choice.

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