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

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez meets with the Midland County Democratic Party in January at Martinez Bakery. Valdez Texas first Hispanic female sheriff announced Wednesday she will run against Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in 2018

Valdez is serving her fourth term as sheriff of Dallas County, the second most populous county in the state and a Democratic stronghold.

Valdez made the announcement at the Texas Democratic Party Headquarters in downtown Austin.

Meanwhile, candidates for Valdez's soon-to-be-vacant sheriff's job are lining up. "I believe good government can make people's lives better, and I intend to do just that", said Valdez in a statement Wednesday morning. Andrew White, son of the late Democratic governor Mark White, is also expected to announce his candidacy in the coming days. Valdez's campaign said she will "officially notify" Dallas County commissioners of her decision to run for governor this morning.

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We haven't independently corroborated such details though we've emailed Valdez's campaign to elicit more detail.

Observers at this city's paper of record and elsewhere have reckoned that if Valdez can help mobilize Hispanic voters, sort of the sleeping giant of Texas politics, while boosting down-ticket candidates, then that may be a consolation prize to mounting a credible challenge to Republicans' statewide dominance in 2018. But hours after she announced she was running, Abbott's team released a re-election endorsement from a law enforcement group in her backyard: the Dallas Police Association. State Democrats are surely hoping that the country's only openly gay, Hispanic, woman sheriff will at least draw a strong contrast with Abbott.

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. Abbott has no serious GOP challenger. In 2015, Abbott took issue with Dallas County tweaking a policy that limited how long it detains immigrants who commit minor offenses before turning them over to federal immigration officials. At the time, Abbott responded by threatening to pull $250 million in criminal justice grants to counties that followed Valdez's lead, though Dallas never lost any funds. Democrats haven't won the governorship in more than two decades.

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