Sanctuary Sheriff Lupe Valdez Announces Run for Texas Governor

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez speaks at a law enforcement panel discussion of Senate Bill 4 the so-called Sanctuary Cities Bill in Austin in February

Lupe Valdez Is Running for Governor

Valdez is the latest of several Democrats to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican incumbent.

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez will officially announce her candidacy for governor during a live event in Austin at 11:45 a.m., you can see it in the video player above.

The 70-year-old Valdez is an Army veteran and was Texas' first openly gay female sheriff. Even though she resigned this morning, Valdez will continue to serve as Dallas' sheriff until a replacement is named.

"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 statement.

Valdez said she looks forward to spending the next year speaking with Texans about issues such as healthcare and immigration, specifically addressing the fear many undocumented immigrants have of deportation. Similarly, Valdez told the Democratic National Convention in July 2016: "I am the youngest of eight children born to migrant workers". "I believe good government can make people's lives better, and I intend to do just that".

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Valdez was first elected sheriff in 2004.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins reacted to the announcement Wednesday via Twitter, thanking Valdez for her leadership.

Valdez's opponents in the Democratic primary include Andrew White, son of former governor Mark White, and Dallas businessman Jeffrey Payne, who owns the popular gay-bar The Dallas Eagle.

Valdez faces an uphill battle in a statewide race for Texas' highest office.

Texas Democrats have faced uncomfortable questions for months about whether they can field a credible gubernatorial candidate. Abbott has no serious GOP challenger. In 2015, they butted heads over her department's policy regarding compliance with federal immigration authorities - a debate that later cropped up in Travis County and became the driving force behind the "sanctuary cities" bill that Abbott signed into law earlier this year. Democrats haven't won the governorship in more than two decades. But Davis lost to Abbott by 20-points.

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