Wendy Davis takes on GOP congressman who blocked aid for disaster victims


Republican Rep. Chip Roy faces a challenge from Democrat Wendy Davis, a woman's health hero with national name recognition.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) got a high-profile challenger for his Austin-adjacent House seat Monday morning when former state Sen. Wendy Davis announced she is running to replace him.

Roy rose to national attention in May by leading a Republican effort to block $19 billion in disaster relief to states impacted by flooding, including his home state of Texas.

The disaster relief bill passed the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming 85-8 vote, and was set to pass the House unanimously, until Roy objected. Because of Roy and a few other Republicans's objections, families in need of help were forced to wait more than a week longer for promised aid.

"It shouldn't be unusual for a public official to stand and fight for the men and women who elected them," Davis said in a video launching her campaign. "It should be a job requirement."

Standing up for her constituents is what made Davis a household name in 2013. As a state senator, Davis stood for nearly 13 hours filibustering a radical anti-abortion bill. Her efforts garnered support from President Barack Obama, who used his Twitter account to draw attention to Davis' efforts, saying, "Something special is happening in Austin tonight," and using the hashtag "StandWithWendy."

Women and men around the country were glued to television screens to watch Davis' impassioned speech, and the pink running shoes she wore quickly became best-sellers on Amazon.

"I'm running for Congress because people's voices are still being silenced," Davis said in her launch video. "I'm running for our children and grandchildren, so they can live and love and fight for change themselves."

This is the second time Davis has entered a high-profile race in Texas. In 2013, she launched a bid to become governor of Texas, eventually losing to Republican Greg Abbott.

The race between Davis and Roy has the potential to be one of the closest in the nation. In 2018, Roy defeated Democrat Joseph Kopser by only two points, winning the seat after Rep. Lamar Smith opted to retire. Smith previously won the seat by 21 points in 2016.

By entering the race, Davis is looking to add to a record-breaking number of women in the House and expand the Democratic House majority.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.