Openly gay Dallas County Sheriff
Guadalupe “Lupe” Valdez announced last month that she is running
for governor of Texas.
Valdez, Texas' first openly gay and
first Latina sheriff, was first elected as sheriff in 2004 with a
narrow margin. Last year, she received 59 percent of the vote.
"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. "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. I’m a proud Texas
Democrat. I believe good government can make people’s lives better,
and I intend to do just that."
Valdez threw her hat in the ring with
five days until the candidate filing deadline for this year's
Democratic primaries. She'll compete against seven candidates,
including Andrew White, the son of the late Governor Mark White.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott, a
vocal opponent of LGBT rights, is seeking a second term and has
amassed a $40 million-plus re-election war chest.
According to The
Texas Tribune, Texas has not elected a Democrat to statewide
office in over two decades.
The Los Angeles Times points out
that Valdez has the potential to boost party voter registration and
turnout in the long-term, especially among Latino voters.
“One hope that Democrats have for
Lupe Valdez is that she increases voter registration and turnout
among Latinos and she shifts the percentage of the Latino vote won by
Democrats from the 55[%] to 65% range, where it’s been recently in
Texas, to the 65[%] to 75% range, where it’s been in places like
California,” Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice
University in Houston, told
The Victory Fund, which promotes LGBT
candidates for elected office, has previously endorsed Valdez.