“Just talking about the economy all the time, jobs and the economy, doesn’t motivate people to get out and vote,” said Marilyn Musgrave (R), a former congresswoman from Colorado who now serves as a vice president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that recruits antiabortion women candidates to run for office.

Davis’s own political future has also become a hot topic.

As a newcomer to a legislature that meets in regular session for only 140 days every other year, the former city councilwoman was named “rookie of the year” by Texas Monthly magazine in 2009, and made the magazine’s list of 10 best lawmakers this year.

Davis had already established a reputation for stepping up in a fight. The filibuster on the antiabortion legislation was actually her second of note; in 2011, she did the same in the closing hours of the legislative term in an attempt to stop a budget bill that included education cuts. Perry was forced to call a special session to get them through.

So it is no surprise that she has become one of the GOP’s top electoral targets. Next year, she is up for reelection in a district where she has eked out two narrow wins.