AUSTIN (KXAN) - Wendy Davis woke up Tuesday morning a junior member of the Texas Senate where Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly two to one.
But by the time the clock struck midnight, the one-time teenage mother who managed to put herself through Harvard Law School had attracted a nationwide following, earned a Twitter shout-out from the president of the United States and was touted by many as the Democrats' best hope in two decades of winning a statewide election.
Davis, who represents a Republican-leaning district in Fort Worth, gained the attention for speaking nearly nonstop on the Senate floor for 10 hours, which allowed her and her fellow Democrats to kill the clock on a bill that would restrict abortions in Texas.
Hundreds of her supporters -- many whom had never heard of Davis before Tuesday lined up outside the Senate gallery for hours just for a chance to watch Davis' filibuster.
"I hesitate to say what she's doing is 'heroic,' but that's the only word that comes to mind," said Jill Young, 66, of Austin, as she waited in line along the rail of the rotunda on the Capitol's third floor. "She is standing up for the rights of woman to decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies."
Glen Maxey, a former Democratic state lawmaker and a longtime Democratic operative, said Davis' efforts make her the prohibitive favorite for her party's nomination for governor next year.
"I'll just say there are thousands and thousands of people talking to Senator Davis about that right now," Maxey said as he helped manage the flow of people toward the Senate gallery.
One of those people talking to Davis -- at least indirectly -- was President Barack Obama. The president tweet out that "something special is happening in Austin" and added the widely used hashtag, #StandWithWendy.
Davis, 50, has been shooting down suggestions for several months that she might run statewide next year. During the regular session of the Texas Legislature, she told KXAN's Josh Hinkle that she's focused on seeking re-election to her Senate seat.
But a Draft Wendy Davis political action committee has been formed that urges supporters to "Let Wendy know that you are ready to put a woman in the Governor's mansion."
Davis' filibuster was cut short after Republicans said she violated the rules governing the process,. But it did give her fellow Democrats and a boisterous gallery crowd that Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called "an unruly mob" to run out the clock at midnight.
Afterward, Davis was not yet ready to talk about her political future.
"My back hurts. I don't have a lot of words left," Davis said as she was showered with cheers by supporters who remained at the Capitol to see her. "It shows the determination and spirit of Texas women."
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