Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez to run for governor; announcement today in Austin

Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez to run for governor; announcement today in Austin

Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez to run for governor; announcement today in Austin

"Like so many hardworking Texans, I know it's tough deciding between buying food, finding a decent place to live, and setting aside money for college tuition", Valdez said in a written statement published by the Texas Tribune. "Opportunity in Texas ought to be as big as this great state, but it is out of reach for far too many, that's why I'm running for Texas Governor", Valdez said in a press release. The governor is sitting on a campaign war chest of more than $40 million, and no Democrat has won statewide office in Texas in more than 20 years. If elected, Valdez will be Texas' third female governor, first Hispanic governor and first LGBTQ governor. The son of the late Governor Mark White is making the announcement one day after former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez announced hers.

In announcing her decision to run for governor, Valdez avoided immigration.

The announcement comes after media reports and speculation last week that she would file as a candidate in the Democratic primary. Former state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, was thought to be a credible challenger to Abbott after Rick Perry left the seat open in 2012. When Abbott found out about the policy, he threatened Valdez with the loss of certain state funds if she didn't take back her directive.

Democratic consultant Ed Espinoza, with the group Progress Texas, said despite any Democrat who runs has a shot at defeating Abbott in November. "They would have questions about us and what our motives are".

Valdez was among about 40 female sheriffs in the USA, a number that amounts to only about 1 percent of the total sheriff population, according to the National Sheriffs Association.

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The Dallas sheriff immediately becomes the highest profile Democratic candidate for a party that has seemingly had difficulty recruiting someone to challenge Republican incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott.

He remains popular among social conservatives who drive Texas politics and is steering the state through the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which could become the costliest national disaster cleanup in US history. Valdez strongly opposed Senate Bill 4, the anti-sanctuary cities law that passed during the most recent legislative session and is now being challenged in court.

In 2015, Valdez got crosswise with Abbott when she announced her department would decide whether to turn over undocumented offenders to federal immigration authorities on a case-by-case basis.

Following Valdez' resignation, the Dallas County Commissioner's Court will select a temporary replacement sheriff. Her office oversees the second largest county jail in Texas.

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