Texas’ first Hispanic female sheriff enters governor’s race

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ first Hispanic female sheriff announced Wednesday she is running for governor in 2018, making her the biggest Democrat in the race to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who is stepping down as sheriff after 12 years to launch her campaign, starts out as an underdog. Texas hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1990 and Abbott coasted to a 20-point win just three years ago against Wendy Davis, whose defense of abortion rights catapulted her to national political stardom.

In Valdez, 70, Democrats are now putting up a far different candidate: a one-time migrant worker and Army veteran with more than 40 years in law enforcement. She was Texas’ first openly gay sheriff and has publicly clashed with Abbott over her handling of federal immigration detainers in the nation’s seventh-largest jail system.

Several other lesser-known Democrats, including the son of a former Texas governor in the 1980s, are also running. But the true Democratic heavyweights took a pass, including Julian Castro, who was President Barack Obama’s housing secretary and is a former mayor of San Antonio.

Texas Democrats have faced uncomfortable questions for months about whether they can field a credible gubernatorial candidate. Valdez, a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent, downplayed how much money she would need to mount a serious campaign in a Texas, where the size makes statewide campaigns an expensive undertaking.

Valdez was among about 40 female sheriffs in the U.S.

San Marcos Daily Record

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