2014 a test for Democrats' renewed efforts in Texas

In Texas, where a Democrat has not been elected to any statewide office since 1994, this tactic remains a safe bet, especially when considering Abbott’s likely general election opponent: state Sen. Wendy Davis, who is expected to announce shortly after Labor Day her intention to enter the race.

Still, Abbott isn’t taking victory for granted.

At the very top of his abbreviated stump speech here, he warned the audience that their vigilance would be required to ward off the efforts of Battleground Texas, a new Democratic super PAC that Abbott characterized as “Barack Obama’s attempt to . . . turn Texas blue.”

From its beginnings, the operatives behind Battleground Texas have emphasized the long-term nature of their attempt to identify and register enough left-leaning voters to turn Texas into a potential deal-sealer for future Democratic presidential candidates.

But the impending clash between Davis — a recently minted progressive superstar — and Abbott — an old-school conservative stalwart — in the state’s first open gubernatorial race since 1990 will pose the first high-profile challenge for the group, whether it’s prepared to face such a test so soon or not.