Rising star Wendy Davis sets sights on higher office

(CBS NEWS) DALLAS -- Until a few months ago, Wendy Davis was a little-known senator in Texas. But on Thursday, Davis announced she's running for governor.

The early odds are against Davis. It's been nearly 20 years since Texas voters put a Democrat in statewide office.

Wendy Davis announced she's running for governor.
Wendy Davis announced she's running for governor.
CBS News

She's been known for standing up and taking on a long-standing Republican majority here.

The state senator stepped into the national spotlight with her pink sneakers during a 13-hour filibuster of new abortion restrictions. CBS News spoke with her in June.

"My voice is one that's reflective of that community, whether it's people who vote because I have a 'D' next to my name, or whether it's a woman who may typically vote as a Republican, but who believes her personal liberties should be respected, and she's going to vote for someone who is going to assure that," she said.

Davis already has a million-dollar war chest. But the Republican she's likely to face, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, has $25 million on hand. Millions more is expected to pour into the race.

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Watch: Jindal not worried about Wendy Davis' bid in Texas, below.

"I think she'll get a lot of national headlines and a lot of national money, a lot of special interest groups from the outside of Texas. I think inside Texas, Greg is going to do just fine," said Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal, chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Democrats have become hopeful about Texas, because its demographics are shifting. By 2025, the percentage of white voters may drop below 50 percent, but the percentage of Hispanics is expected to rise from 26 to 44 percent.

Democrat gains could influence American politics. The state has 26 Republican members of Congress. This week, Texas Senator John Cornyn released a campaign ad that stated, "Join the fight to keep Texas red."

The election is still more than a year away, but radio ads against Davis will start airing this weekend in English and Spanish.