Earlier this month, state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, postponed her announcement about the 2014 governor’s race to tend to her ailing father. Now that he has passed away, her decision continues to sit in limbo.
Grace Garcia runs the women’s democratic group Annie’s List, one of the groups leading the charge for Davis to run for governor, and said they are taking a break from the politics until "the appropriate time."
"Anybody who knows her would not expect anything other than what’s happened, which is for her to put her family first and politics second," Garcia said. "And I know she will want to have a little time to grieve and mourn before she re-focuses on what’s next for her."
Davis initially faced criticism for her decision to postpone her announcement, with opponents accusing her of using her family as a political move.
Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University and one of the nation's leading political experts, said he predicts more political fallout regarding accusations that Davis was using her father’s illness for political gain.
"Speculation is part of that game and politicians know that and use it for their benefit at some points," Jillson said. "And at other points people look bad when they question a politician's motives and then they do lose a father or a family member."
Jillson said another component is gender expectations. He said it has become common in Texas politics for some to expect women to have the same reaction to life’s tragedies as those of their male colleagues.
Over the summer, similar things were said about state Sen. Leticia Van DePutte, D-San Antonio, when her father died in the midst of the final vote on a controversial abortion bill.