For one day a year ago, Wendy Davis became the brightest star in the U.S. political universe when she donned pink tennis shoes and launched a one-woman, 10-hour filibuster against abortion restrictions that brought her international attention.
Now she is battling to revive a seemingly stalled campaign to become the first Democratic Texas governor in more than 20 years by winning over frustrated Republicans and motivating enough voters who would otherwise spend election day at home to find a few minutes to vote.
State Senator Davis, 51, came into the Texas Democratic convention in Dallas over the weekend with surveys showing her 10-13 percent points behind the Republican nominee, Attorney General Greg Abbott, 56, and failing to close ground.
Davis, with an inspiring life story going from a single mother in a trailer park to a Harvard Law School graduate, has portrayed Abbott as part of a 'good old boys' network more interested in enriching each other than helping voters.
"I'm running because there's a moderate majority that's being ignored - commonsense, practical, hardworking Texans whose voices are being drowned out by insiders in Greg Abbott's party, and it needs to stop," she told the convention on Friday.
But as Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston, said: "Texas is difficult terrain for any Democrat, let alone a Democrat who rose to prominence on an issue such as abortion that is associated with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party."
Davis, who this month reshuffled campaign brass, has also taken hits when it was found she embellished parts of her biography.
Despite this, she remains a prominent candidate who can raise funds among major donors in Hollywood and Washington, D.C.