Right now, no one really knows what Davis would do once elected—not even likely Davis herself. Will she reverse her predecessor’s economic policies or stick with them? Texas has an $8.8 billion surplus on a $100 billion budget. What will Davis do with it? Save it for a rainy day? Or invest it? If so, where? How much should she stick to the party line and on what issues? In the absence of a track record, Davis will have to figure all this out on the fly and define herself before her opponents define her.

This is precisely the problem that Paul and Cruz, both of whom are junior senators whose names are suddenly being tossed around as potential Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential elections, are also going to face. Paul made a name for himself when he filibustered the confirmation of President Obama’s CIA nominee to demand answers on the scope of the administration’s drone program. And Cruz last month went on a 21-hour talkathon to defund Obamacare as a condition for passing the budget. Like Davis, they are both playing to activists who care about one issue above all else—and hoping that eventually a broader cross-section of voters will listen.