Hispanic female sheriff enters governor race in ‘red’ state

BY KAT SHEPHERD / DECEMBER 6, 2017 /

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A new name is floating around in Texas gubernatorial politics, and it has Democrats in the state in celebration mode. Ticking attributes such as Hispanic, female and openly gay off the list, supporters of Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D) have welcomed her candidacy against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

After 12 years on the job, Valdez will step down as sheriff to launch the campaign. According to the Associated Press, she begins her campaign as the underdog; Texas hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1990. Another hurdle for Valdez is that Abbott coasted to a 20-point win three years ago, against Democratic challenger Wendy Davis.

While Davis was a pro-abortion liberal sweetheart, Valdez, 70, has many other liberal credentials. Aside from her demographics, Valdez’s resume includes time as a migrant worker and engagement in public clashes with Abbott regarding federal immigration detainers. She is also an Army veteran and served more than 40 years in law enforcement, including as a U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent.

Although several other Democrats are also throwing their hats in the ring, the name on many Democrats’ lips is Valdez because they see her as a likely winner. According to the AP, “Texas Democrats have faced uncomfortable questions for months about whether they can field a credible gubernatorial candidate.” They think Valdez will be that candidate.

“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 statement.

Abbott, who remains popular among social conservatives in the state, is approaching next year’s election in a good position. He has no serious GOP primary challengers and has raised more than $40 million in campaign funds. With residents of the state who were affected by Hurricane Harvey giving high marks to state leaders for their handling of the natural disaster, Abbott may also enjoy their good will.