Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez will officially announce she's running for Texas governor when she makes her announcement at the Texas Democratic Party headquarters in Austin Wednesday.
"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 written statement published by the Texas Tribune. "That's why I'm running for Texas governor". Andrew White is scheduled to announce his campaign on Thursday.
In the fight against Abbott, who has months of preparation, a $41 million war chest and a Republican incumbency to boost him along, Valdez will be a severe underdog should she secure the Democratic nomination.
Valdez faces an uphill battle in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in more than 20 years, against an incumbent, Gov. Greg Abbott, who trounced Wendy Davis with almost 60 percent of the vote in 2014.
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In 2015, Valdez got crosswise with Abbott when she announced her department would decide whether to turn over undocumented offenders to federal immigration authorities on a case-by-case basis. "I don't believe that we need 40, 60, 90 bazillion dollars". "Abbott may have the money - we're going to have the people". Observers say Valdez is the strongest Democratic challenger in the race, but winning office will be an uphill battle. On the same day of Valdez's announcement, Abbott posted a video of the Dallas Police Association endorsing Abbott.
Valdez's actions and those of fellow sanctuary sheriff, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, led to the creation and passage of Texas' SB4 Sanctuary City Law.
Valdez is the only Hispanic lesbian sheriff in the country, and one of few female sheriffs in Texas.
Valdez said she was undaunted by Abbott's campaign fund-raising edge or the fact the state has voted overwhelmingly Republican for years. Her announcement Wednesday makes her the most prominent Democrat in the race after bigger names passed on trying to break Republicans' 22-year hold on the Texas governor's mansion. She will also submit her letter of resignation to the Dallas County Commissioners, giving commissioners the chance to start looking for a temporary replacement.