Dallas County Sheriff: 'I'm Stepping Up, I'm In'; Valdez Announces Gubernatorial Candidacy

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Valdez made the announcement early Wednesday morning and plans to hold a press conference later today to announce her candidacy for the Democratic nomination. "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", Lupe Valdez said.

"I've been a migrant farm worker, a working college student, an Army veteran, a Federal agent and the very proud Sheriff of the good people of Dallas County".

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 one of only two female sheriffs in the state, and she is the only openly-gay female sheriff in Texas. And she has previously been to battle with Abbott over an issue that's since become only more front and center in Texas politics: immigration enforcement.

Speculation has swirled publicly for weeks about whether Valdez would run, after she acknowledged she was "in the exploratory process" of starting a gubernatorial bid. "I don't see her winning".

Speaking with reporters after filing, Valdez said she was undaunted by the challenge, particularly when it comes to fundraising.

"Republican votes are stagnant in this state".

Abbott's campaign had no immediate reaction to Valdez's candidacy. A Houston investor who has never been elected to office before, he is presenting himself as a conservative Democrat with business instincts. Andrew White is scheduled to announce his campaign on Thursday. "They can't just win with democratic voters, they have to turn out Democrats. We look forward to a robust primary to talk about what kind of party we want to be", Garcia said. That move prompted Abbott to warn Valdez in a letter that Texas sheriffs who did not cooperate with federal "detainers" would face losing state grant money. He has over $40 million in the bank, and a number of top Texas Democrats - like former U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro - have already taken a pass on going up against him in 2018.

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"I think we're going to raise whatever money's necessary".

"What I have found, when associations make decisions like that it's not the response of everybody in the association, it's the response of the leaders", Valdez said in response to the endorsement.

Valdez dismissed the endorsement as not reflecting the view of the association's full membership.

After attaining the rank of captain in the U.S. Army, Valdez went on to work as a federal agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and, later, the Department of Homeland Security, focusing on fraud and drug cases for nearly 30 years before being elected sheriff of Dallas County, the state's second most populous county.

"We know they're looking for a more visible [candidate], but my whole thing has been the visible candidate they've had for 24 years - we're at a quarter of a century now, and we're not picking up any speed with it", Payne said.

"I think our expectation is that this will be a mobilization election, not a persuasion election", said Henson.

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