State Sen. Wendy Davis, standing on the stage where she got her high school diploma more than 30 years ago, finally announced Thursday what has been anticipated, telegraphed and talked about for weeks: She is running for Texas governor.

Davis promised to be an advocate for those who feel they no longer have a voice in the halls of the Texas Capitol, to fight for more education dollars and to take on Republicans leaders who she said are listening to their campaign contributors instead of average Texans.

"In Austin today, our current leadership thinks promises are just something you make to the people who write big checks," she said. "But the promise I’m talking about is bigger than that. It’s the promise of a better tomorrow for everyone. Texas deserves a leader who will protect this promise. Texas deserves a leader who will keep it."

READ: Why Governing named Davis a legislator to watch in 2012

Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, announced his candidacy for governor in July. He is being challenged in the GOP primary by former Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken.

Abbott spokesman Avdiel Huerta used a phrase in Spanish — "pan con lo mismo," or same old thing — to describe what Davis had to offer.

"Nonetheless, we welcome Senator Davis to the race, and look forward to presenting the clear differences and debating the important issues that will preserve the economic miracle in Texas," he said.

The GOP has painted Davis as a liberal who, in the words of prominent Republican activist Michael Quinn Sullivan, "wants to turn Texas blue by way of a sea of red ink and a flood of high taxes."

Davis, anticipating the attacks, spoke of her service on the Fort Worth City Council, where she said she developed a reputation as a bipartisan consensus builder.