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Wendy Davis Sparks Democratic Organizing Bonanza


Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, reacts after she was called for a third and final violation in rules to end her filibuster attempt to kill an abortion bill, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Democrats across the country are going online to take advantage of Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis's rise to national prominence, using her filibuster against new abortion restrictions as a fundraising and organizing tool -- as frequently for their own benefit as for Davis's.

Several Democratic senators and the Democratic Governors Association sent blast emails on June 26 urging supporters to thank Davis by signing their names (and donating their email addresses) to a website run by the Texas Democratic Party, which is in rebuilding mode and is sure to hold onto those emails for later grassroots organizing and fundraising.

The Lone Star Project, a Texas Democratic outside group run by a Davis ally, sent multiple appeals to its email list urging recipients to visit the state senator's campaign website and donate, or at least to add their email addresses. Those resources will come in handy whether Davis continues her tough reelection campaign or aims for a statewide office.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, big-time Texas Democratic donor Amber Mostyn tweeted Tuesday night that she would match donations to Annie's List, a state organization that backs candidates who back abortion rights, including Davis. The group's director told the paper that it raised $25,000 (plus Mostyn's match) from that tweet alone in just four hours.

Not every email leveraging Davis's newfound Democratic stardom funneled back to her or her state party, though. The Women's Campaign Fund, a group focused on electing more women to public office, asked its email recipients if they could donate $11 -- "$1 for each hour she stood up" during her filibsuter. But they were fundraising for themselves, not Davis or another Texas entity.

Same goes for Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, who asked donors to help her emulate Davis by taking the fight for women's rights to the U.S. Senate, according to a report in Roll Call. Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., each asked supporters to sign a card (again, by donating their email addresses) thanking Davis.

Politicians rarely do anything that doesn't offer a payoff in the end. There's no better measure of the extent to which Davis's filibuster excited the Democratic base than the speed at which other Democrats race to jump on her bandwagon -- even if they're only riding it for their own purposes.

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