Gov. Peter Shumlin learned a valuable lesson Tuesday morning during a quick trip to the nation's capital: Don't mess with Texas.
Speaking to beltway reporters at a forum organized by the Third Way, a centrist think tank, the Democratic Governors Association chairman summed up his party's prospects of regaining gubernatorial seats this November.
Shumlin listed Maine, Pennsylvania, and Florida as states where the DGA has “very high hopes” of defeating Republicans. He added that Democrats have “good shots” in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Shumlin also offered Georgia, South Carolina, Kansas, and Arizona as red states that the DGA is “optimistic” about Democrats’ chances in.
Whom did Shumlin fail to mention?
You guessed it: Texas Democrat Wendy Davis, who rose to prominence last June after an 11-hour filibuster against new abortion regulations. She's now running for governor.
After a reporter noted the omission, Shumlin said, "We're hopeful in Texas, but we all understand that Democrats haven't won Texas in a long time. We hope this will be our year."
He also said, according to the Houston Chronicle, "I wish that we could spend money for Democrats in all 50 states. My job is not to promote governors' races in states where we can't win."
Davis' campaign, apparently, wasn't too pleased with Shumlin's assessment.
In a written statement, according to the San Antonio Express-News, Davis campaign manager Karin Johanson said, "The uninformed opinions of a Washington, D.C., desk jockey who's never stepped foot in Texas couldn't be less relevant to what's actually happening on the ground."
Shumlin's been called plenty of things in his career, but an uninformed, D.C. desk jockey?!
Asked how he could be characterized as such, the Express-News reported, Davis spokesman Zac Petkanas clarified that Johanson was "referring to whoever at the DGA prepared the governor's talking points."
Good save, Zac!
Given the importance of DGA funding, it's unclear why Team Davis thinks it's wise to bite the hand that feeds it. But the DGA appears to be taking the kerfuffle in stride.
"Gov. Shumlin stated the obvious fact that Texas has historically been a tough state for Democrats, but that — because we have a strong candidate — we are hopeful about our chances this year," DGA desk jockey — ahem, spokesman — Danny Kanner said in a written statement.