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Lupe Valdez Hopes to Make the Leap from Dallas County Sheriff to Governor

The gay Latina sheriff of Dallas County advocates for Dreamers and LGBT rights.

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Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez delivers remarks on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez announced her candidacy for governor on Wednesday morning at Texas Democratic Party headquarters in Austin, promising a new direction for the state. Valdez is the highest-profile Democrat to join the race.

“For far too long, hardworking Texans have been left behind, kept out, and, frankly, attacked for who they are, where they come from, and who they love,” Valdez said at the press conference announcing her candidacy. “Texans and Texas businesses are begging for a return of common sense.”

During her brief announcement speech, Valdez telegraphed a few of the issues she plans to run on, including more pragmatic government, immigration, and LGBT rights (Valdez is openly gay). In her announcement, she made special mention of the Dreamers—the nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to America when they were children. The Trump administration has announced that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protected Dreamers from deportation, will end in March 2018. “For the Dreamers, if this isn’t their country, they don’t have a country,” Valdez declared.

The daughter of migrant farm workers, Valdez grew up in San Antonio and served as a captain in the U.S. Army before entering law enforcement—working in county and federal prisons, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Department of Homeland Security—before being elected Dallas County sheriff in 2004. Valdez, the U.S.’s only female hispanic sheriff, has been reelected three times, most recently in 2016. Because she has three years left in her current term, Valdez was forced under state law to resign as sheriff to run for governor.

Valdez is the sixth Democrat to throw her hat in the ring. Perhaps her most prominent opponent is Andrew White, son of former Texas governor Mark White, who is set to announce his candidacy on Thursday. The other candidates in the crowded field are Dallas businessman Jeffrey Payne, Dallas investment adviser Adrian Ocegueda, Houston businessman Joe Mumbach, former Balch Springs mayor Cedric Davis, former congressional candidate Tom Wakely, and former railroad commissioner candidate Grady Yarbrough.

Still, Valdez is widely considered the favorite. “The party leadership has been trying to recruit a known-quantity Latino candidate to run for governor because of the belief that having a Latina in the marquee race will aid the party in ramping up Latino turnout, as well as winning a larger share of the Latino vote,” says Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. Jones noted that an “ideal candidate” would be someone with more name recognition, such as Julián or Joaquin Castro, but that Valdez “is a second-best option.” “She’s an acceptable plan B,” Jones says. 

Liberal activists in the state like Ed Espinoza, the executive director of Progress Texas, cheered Valdez’s announcement. “She’s an incredible voice on law enforcement and immigration,” Espinoza says. “Not a lot of people would pick up the task that she’s picking up.”

That task, if she secures the nomination, would be improving on Wendy Davis’s 20-point defeat in the 2014 governor’s race against Greg Abbott. State Democratic leaders hope that Valdez’s heritage—she peppered her announcement speech with Spanish phrases, and took questions from reporters in both Spanish and English—will improve turnout among the state’s large and growing Latino population. 

Valdez’s presence on the ticket may help down-ballot Democrats by increasing turnout, but defeating Abbott and his $40 million war chest is another matter. “It is a daunting prospect to go from sheriff of Dallas County to governor of the state of Texas,” says Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. “You’re starting literally from scratch in building name recognition, a volunteer base, a fundraising network.”

Valdez would face a steep uphill battle against Abbott. But then again, who would have imagined a generation ago that a gay Latina would become a four-term sheriff presiding over the state’s second-largest county? “Growing up, we always had faith,” Valdez said Wednesday morning. “Siempre tuvimos fe.”

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  • WUSRPH

    As I said the other day, with Valdez running I think we face a good chance of another 1996.

    “According to The Blast it looks like Andrew White, son of Gov. Mark White, is going to get into the governor’s race. He has set an announcement for Dec. 7 at a school named after his father. I would hate to see what happened in 1996 happen again when an unknown Hispanic, Victor Morales, won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate over three top class Anglo candidates, two congressmen and a former high court judge……White may be facing Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez who, by being Hispanic and a gay woman, appeals to a large part of the Democratic electorate….plus White may be a little right of center on subjects for Democratic Primary voters who tend to be a little farther to the left than the November Democrats just like GOP primary voters tend more to the radical right than November Republicans”

    • St. Anger

      I worked on the morales campaign in 1996, and frankly I find your comment racist.

      “top class Anglo candidates?”

      • WUSRPH

        There was nothing wrong with Morales winning….except that he was totally unprepared to be a US Senator and that he had no chance of winning……Morales came from no where…..with his white pickup truck and got plenty of free publicity as a result….His candidacy was refreshing, and it did give a lot of people some hope that you did not have to be a “name” to run for public office…but he never had a chance in the general election. However, in all likelihood at the end neither did any of the three major Anglo candidates as Phil Gramm was riding high that year.

        All I meant by my comment was that he had—just as Sheriff Valdez does—a built-in constituency (in her case constituencies) that allowed him to lead in the first primary…..and to pull out a 1% win in the run-off…….She has the same kind of advantages over White or the other candidates…
        .
        As far as the chances of any Democratic candidate winning statewide this year…..don’t bet your home on it.

        • John Bernard Books

          you’re such a racist….hahaha

        • Kozmo

          Yep. That’s the rights of it. I recall those times.

        • Jed

          “However, in all likelihood at the end neither did any of the three major Anglo candidates as Phil Gramm was riding high that year.”

          ding ding ding.

      • Don Baker

        Anyone who disagrees with you is a racist? That is why that allegation means absolutely nothing to me anymore.

        • St. Anger

          Not everyone who disagrees with me is a racist.

          But making a statement about an individual on the basis of race is racist. That’s what the term means.

          As for what it means to you, who cares, you’re an idiot and a racist.

          • SpiritofPearl

            Don’s limed up.

          • St. Anger

            ??

          • SpiritofPearl

            An old saying . . . “lime in pipes.” He has senile dementia.

    • anonyfool

      You are going to have to refresh our memory about what was bad about Victor Morales winning a fair election as far as I can tell.

      • President King Santa Linda

        Well, yeah, Mark White doesn’t stand a chance. He’s dead and everything. Now his SON, who is running, he probably doesn’t stand a chance, either.

    • Don Baker

      Homophobia? How about many Americans just don’t approve of perverts and abominations.

  • John Bernard Books

    Didn’t know she had to resign?
    “This morning as she announced her candidacy for Governor of Texas, Lupe Valdez was not at all clear on whether she was fully resigning from her position as Sheriff of Dallas County. A video and transcript of her response can be found below. The law does make it clear though. She has declared her candidacy and therefore has resigned and should be replaced.”
    https://www.texasgop.org/dallas-county-commissioners-court-needs-replace-sheriff/?utm_content=buffer5af94&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    its a dem folks…..

  • roadgeek

    A lesbian who supports open borders? Yes, I’m certain East Texas, North Texas, West Texas and the Panhandle are going to fall all over themselves voting for her, while once again the Democratic party hopes that someone who’s last name ends in Z will rouse Hispanics from their electoral apathy.

    • BCinBCS

      I did a google search on Lupe Valdez and nowhere did I find a policy by her for open borders. Would you please cite your source for this claim?

      • WUSRPH

        He doesn’t have to have one….He just “knows” that all Hispanics favor open borders…..

      • José

        I did a Google search on the Texas Constitution and nowhere did I find that sexual preference is in any way relevant to the office of Governor.

        • Kozmo

          Sure. Like that matters to voters in this state. Just keep quoting the constitution and all those conservatives keep pushing the button for the R’s,

          • Jed

            this is so tired. are you suggesting that this would go differently if the democrats nominate a “moderate” (read: conservative) white person?

            because that’s an option, too. and you know as well as i do that the result in november would be the same either way. were you around last year? did you notice how the moderate democrat lost? have you been to texas before? have you noticed how the democrat loses?

            so jam the smugness. much better to nominate someone who actually shares our views than to nominate someone who doesn’t – and will lose anyway.

            ps – responding to you making this point and not racegeek making the same point because he is far more contemptible and not even worth answering.

          • Kozmo

            I am speaking from years of observation and pragmatism, not ideology. And as an independent who is very fiscally conservative — more so than most so-called “conservatives” — and very far-left on many other issues (if I lived in Europe, I’d be a Social Democrat). So bona fides out of the way — What distresses me is that the Democratic Party in Texas has become so moribund and blind and has been so dismembered by a generation of defeats and Republican takeover and gerrymandering and electoral out-maneuvering that they have no farm league and can’t seem to gin up any viable candidate who looks to the statewide (not Austin, not urban Houston or DFW) electorate as someone who will advocate for their interests, as opposed to someone who is going to easily be painted as a stereotype, gender-identity candidate. I have nothing at all against Lupe, and if she’s the nominee of the Dems I will likely vote for her (unless there’s a deserving Green on the ballot, because we need to encourage and enable more independent and third party candidates) but anyone thinking she’s going to stand a chance to unseat a white male straight incumbent Republican with a huge war chest and a huge build-in advantage in voter identification is living in fantasy land. And I find that very discouraging as someone who is aghast at what one-party, right-wing rule has done to this state.

            If she wins it all in 2018, come back and laugh at me, I’ll be glad to join in and eat every word I’ve written.

          • Jed

            so … you’ll vote for the democrat unless there is a green on the ballot (hint: there will be, because that is literally all they do, is field candidates who won’t win but will screw with the democrats’ vote totals), but you are discouraged by one-party rule?

            here’s a thought: you want a second party, you have to vote for it. you can’t very well vote for someone else then come back and say “see?” because i will already be here saying “see?”

        • Don Baker

          It would be a character issue, evidently an issue beyond your understanding

          • José

            Dude. The party that accepts rapists and pederasts and voyeurs and gropers, y’all best not campaign on character.

          • Don Baker

            Evidently you are referring to the democrat party.

          • BCinBCS

            Yea Don, you just keep thinking that.

      • Kozmo

        To be fair, I have done no searching, but there was a mention of something like this on “Capital Tonight” (Spectrum News-Austin); probably not an “open borders” per se, but a standard “No Wall” platform that Republicans like to characterize as “open borders” (whatever that means), since they long ago realized the value of seizing control of the narrative, a tactic the Dems have been clueless about since Truman.

        • BCinBCS

          Thanks Kozmo. Mine was a serious question. I do not equate opposition to the ridiculous idea of building a wall the length of the Rio Grande and across the desert of Arizona as being for open borders. (The cost, financially and ecologically, for an obstacle that can be defeated by a simple ladder defies common sense.)

          I know that, at one time, Texas did have open borders and maybe WUSRPH might have some information about that. I suspect that back when Texas and the U.S. was majority agrarian that it didn’t matter.

          • Jed

            it wouldn’t matter today, either. or rather it owuld be a good thing. (citizen) employment is at all-time high, and still jobs are not getting done. we need more open borders to make our economy work/grow.

        • President King Santa Linda

          We don’t need a stinking wall, anyway. Texans don’t want one.

    • Kozmo

      Ah, I remember those good old days of Governor Sanchez, too.

    • President King Santa Linda

      Where did you get that she supports open borders? Reading more into this? And as for her sexual preference, I’ll take her over a pedophile any day of the week. I don’t think that detracts from her character, her service or her ability to lead. Sorry, White Bread.

      • Don Baker

        The only pedophile politicians I know of are democrats. Being a pervert does indeed detract from her character. Sorry Black Bread.

        • President King Santa Linda

          You don’t get out a lot, then.

  • Kozmo

    No offense, but…. this fringe-dwelling candidate is going to make Wendy Davis’ vote percentage look like a stunning landslide. Way to climb back into the race, Dems! This is why I laugh at articles like the Nation’s latest cover feature on “Building a Blue Texas”. What planet are they living on?

    • Hugh Everett

      Democrats never learn the lesson of a failing Statue of Liberty trick play. But hey, when you’ve got nothing to lose……
      https://s-i.huffpost.com/gen/1452379/images/o-GRIMES-facebook.jpg

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  • John Bernard Books

    If you’re a big guv fan…this will make your day….
    “The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.
    Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.
    https://www.circa.com/story/2017/06/27/nation/did-the-fbi-retaliate-against-michael-flynn-by-launching-russia-probe

    shades of LBJ and Bob Bullock……big government is never a goof thing. Dems use it against the tax payers….

  • John Bernard Books

    Remember when democrats mocked women who accused Bill Clinton of rape….welp they still do……

  • John Bernard Books

    This is true liberal logic….
    “If Austin signs off on a privately financed stadium on city parkland near downtown, the owners of a Major League Soccer team see a facility that would have a small geographic footprint yet make a giant positive impact on the community.
    and a side benefit…..
    “PSV suggests no on-site parking as one of the selling points.”
    http://www.statesman.com/sports/soccer/crew-owners-offer-sketch-potential-austin-soccer-stadium/9bF8P50sw5ybPPdZB2CoiK/

    a soccer stadium with no parking….on a 101 degree day in Austin…..a short 20 minute walk….hahaha

  • John Bernard Books

    Meanwhile back on planet earth…while R. G. was writing about the vile and despicable republicans and their sexcapades…..
    “Two Texas state lawmakers face new sexual harassment allegations. Democratic state Representatives Borris Miles and Carlos Uresti were both named in detailed claims of sexual harassment by several people, including former staffers and interns, in a story published by the Daily Beast late Wednesday night. One woman said that when she was a Texas legislative intern, Miles approached her and offered her cash, saying, “Bitch, you want to f*ck with me tonight?”
    https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/dallas-county-sheriff-lupe-valdez-announces-campaign-for-governor-your-texas-roundup/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Web+Social&utm_content=SoT

    I was recently at a meeting and Boris showed up and “I AM Your New Senator”….I told naw yew ain’t neither….mine is Sen Joan Huffan, one of the best. I have the convicted democrat Rep Ron Reynolds HD-27 and greasy AL CD-18 not representing me….if’n I had “Bitch, you want to f*ck with me tonight?” Boris not representing me too I would move. What a trifecta of losers……
    Still think all dems aren’t corrupt?…….

  • donuthin2

    Dont know much about White, but if he is center or just right of center, he would have my republican vote. Even if slightly left of center would work for me.

  • SpiritofPearl

    While raving about Ms. Valdez, today would be a good day for Blake “Mr. $84,000 Payoff” to resign.

    • President King Santa Linda

      And take his duckie pajamas with him.

  • John Bernard Books

    We may have to take them out one at a time…..
    “Mr. Clevenger said Mr. Comey’s testimony to Congress that he did not predetermine the outcome of the FBI’s probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is belied by revelations this week that he in fact started drafting an exoneration months before even speaking with Mrs. Clinton.
    “Insofar as Mr. Comey gave materially false testimony to Congress, it appears that he violated Rules 1.0(w), 3.3(a)(1), and 8.4 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct,” Mr. Clevenger wrote.
    He also asked to renew grievances in New York against former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, saying Mr. Comey’s claim that she tried to pressure him to downplay the Clinton probe should subject her to scrutiny.”
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/oct/18/lawyer-files-have-comey-disbarred/
    and so we will….

  • John Bernard Books

    Gotta love dems……
    Al, “I didn’t do nuttin wrong so I’m resigning.”
    like shooting ducks in a barrel

    • President King Santa Linda

      As opposed to the guy who HAS done something awfully wrong and won’t resign? I’ll take my chances, thanks.

      • John Bernard Books

        oh lookie another dem afraid to show their face…..

  • John Bernard Books

    wow this democrat is craaaaaaazzzzzy…..
    ““At some point, a handful of members, including myself, went into another member’s office,” Chris said. “As we’re just having a conversation—just a normal conversation—[Miles] just kept fumbling in his suit pocket, and he would pull out this small handgun.
    “It was like a nervous tick,” Chris added, “He’d take it out, look at it, put it back in his pocket.”
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/you-want-to-fck-with-me-tonight-horror-stories-from-the-texas-capitol

    makes Bob Bullock look sane……

  • John Bernard Books

    Is God punishing dems for their lyin, cheatin N stealin…..
    “Pelosi then invoked the Almighty, arguing he’s favoring Democrats in the policy squabble.
    “But I’m optimistic,” she said. “I always have been. God is with us on this. Our country is great. We know that greatness springs from the vitality that newcomers bring to our country.””
    https://news.grabien.com/story-pelosi-legalizing-daca-god-us

    Do you believe God is smiling on the abortion party…..

  • WUSRPH

    One thing that the Al Franken episode seems to have accomplished is to establish a scale of punishment for the degree of offensive behavior…..For example, trying to steal a few kisses and pinching women on the behind is clearly a major offense since it will cost you a seat in the US Senate……While bragging about grabbing women by the ….., on the other hand, is a minor one since if you do that your punishment is that you get to be president of the United States.

    • BCinBCS

      Actually, the bar is even higher since he not only grabs women but has sexually abused over twenty of them and remains president.

    • Kozmo

      OR could gain you a Senate seat in morally upright Alabama.

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  • Don Baker

    Not only no, but hell no to this liberal loony tune pervert.

  • WUSRPH

    Andrew White made a strong speech at his announcement, but I still think Valdez starts far ahead.

    • BCinBCS

      W, I have a question that I’ll bet you know the answer. It has to do with the reconciliation process on the national level (but I suspect that the rules are the same as on the state level).

      Let’s say that the Senate version of a bill calls for funding of $780 million dollars and the House version calls for funding at $1.2 trillion. At reconciliation must the parties agree on a figure between $780M and $1.2T or can they report a funding level of, say, $20 million (or, for that matter, eliminate funding altogether)?

      • WUSRPH

        Sorry, but I am not up-to-date on the congressional procedures.

        • BCinBCS

          Wouldn’t they be the same or similar to Texas state procedures…Roberts Rules and all?

    • Kozmo

      A very small minority of Democratic voters determine the primary results, and a very small (but larger in numbers) minority of Republican voters do the same in their primary. Both parties play to the fringe candidates in the primaries — then the Republicans go on to destroy the Democrats in the general election simply because they have that R next to their name. This passes for democracy in this state.

  • BCinBCS

    Sometimes it helps to look at things from a different perspective. Comrade Trump’s announcement that the U.S. is moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been widely panned. Nonetheless, there are those that need to see the issue this way:

    In response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the Palestinian National Authority has announced that it will recognize Texas as a state of Mexico since it was violently annexed by the United States in the 1840s.

    ‘The territory north and east of the Rio Grande is very important to the Mexican people,’ explained a PNA spokesperson. ‘Before American settlers showed up and implemented slavery, Mexico oversaw this land. Then, President Polk sent his armies to invade the rest of these Mexican territories, and force the country to give up California, New Mexico, most of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. We may soon recognize these states as part of Mexico too.’

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says that this is a new approach to Mexican-US relations, and hopes it will help ease the tension between the two countries over security and immigration.

    ‘We understand that the Mexican state of Texas is a sacred place for many large-buckled Americans, but they can rest assured that a two-state solution or a wall was not feasible,’ explained Abbas.

    ‘Besides, most people in Texas speak Spanish.’

    The Palestinian consulate in Mexico City will soon be moved to Houston to formally recognize the seized territory as part of Mexico.

    Would we accept this?

    https://www.thebeaverton.com/2017/12/palestinians-recognize-texas-part-mexico/

    • José
      • WUSRPH

        This may sound weird…It may even be weird. But why do I have this feeling that Trump hopes that his decision on moving the embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing it as Israel’s capitol really stirs up the Arabs and the Turks and Muslims all over the world? That, in fact, it is designed to do just that in order to give him more ammunition to support the Israeli claim that there is no chance for a “two-state solution” because the other side is unreasonable…..leading to Israel fully implementing its “one statesolution” by officially annexing the West Bank……We know that the current US Ambassador to Israel, who just happens to be Trump’s long-time personal attorney, favors this approach…….and has certainly tried to sell it to Trump….

        Just a thought.

        • BCinBCS

          I doubt that he has had anyone close to him serve in the military or die in a conflict. I also don’t think that he has the empathy that anyone else without that experience would have. If he did, he would be much more careful about ginning up conflict in the Middle East and fanning the flames of nuclear war with North Korea.

        • José

          The simplest reason for this is that Bannon told him to do it. The next simplest is that it was intended as yet another distraction away from the increasingly alarming scandal about his ties to Mother Russia.
          But what you suggest is entirely plausible. Intentionally provoke a violent response from Middle East Muslims and thereby undermine any hope of a just peace that requires any compromise from Israeli hardliners. It’s neither moral nor honorable but it’s danged effective.

      • BCinBCS

        Yea, I posted it as satire (with a lesson). Maybe I should have labeled it as such.

  • John Bernard Books

    Obama thanks himself….
    ““We saw the longest streak of job creation in American history by far,” Obama said during his speech at the North American Climate Summit in Chicago. “A streak that still continues by the way. ‘Thanks, Obama.’””
    http://www.newsweek.com/barack-obama-thanks-himself-american-economys-success-739598

    The greatest stock market run in history was due to……..Obama?…..hahaha

  • John Bernard Books

    What are dems good for….
    ““The FCC said in a notice it was removing ‘outmoded regulations’ on telegraphs effective in November.” And none too soon: “The last Western Union telegram in the United States was sent in 2006” and the “last major telegram service worldwide ended in India in 2013.” ”
    https://www.overlawyered.com/2017/10/us-finally-deregulates-telegraph-service/

    they’re not…..

  • Well, What Next?

    As execrably bad as Greg Abbott is, this person will need to get a deeper agenda if she hopes to oust him. LGBT and immigrant rights annnnd . . . . Come on Ms Valdez, surely you can come up with something more.

    • José

      True. If she wants to run for Governor without a solid and meaningful platform then she needs to switch parties.

      • BCinBCS

        Ouch, burn.