Dallas, TX – Retired Dallas County Sheriff Guadalupe “Lupe” Valdez kicked off her campaign for the Texas governor’s seat on Sunday night, and is one of eleven Democrats vying for the position, the San Antonio Current reported.
Valdez, 70, was elected in 2004 as Texas’ first openly gay sheriff, and was also the state’s first Hispanic female sheriff, The Dallas Morning News reported.
“She ran for sheriff in a county that did not have a single countywide official that was a Democrat and hadn’t for 20 years,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told the Los Angeles Times. “She ran against an incumbent sheriff. She did not have any experience running for office. Few people, if any, gave her any chance of winning.”
Valdez served nearly four terms as Dallas County Sheriff before she resigned her position in December in order to run for the governor’s seat.
During her time as sheriff, Valdez clashed with incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott, after she refused to honor federal immigration holds on inmates who had not been charged with violent crimes. Gov. Abbot said she backed down after he threatened to withhold federal funding.
During her Sunday speech, Valdez noted that the legislature did little to address serious issues in 2017, the San Antonio Current reported.
“They have made up issues — bathrooms, sanctuary cities, massive voter fraud,” she listed off. “It would be amusing if it wasn’t causing so much harm. It’s costing us jobs, and it’s certainly destroying the Texas brand.”
Valdez’s supporters said they believe her background will help her to gain votes from the Latino community, as well as from moderate Republicans, but Texas Republican Party Chairman James Dickey disagrees.
“No moderate of any race who looks at Lupe’s track record would consider her a moderate,” he told the Los Angeles Times.