In the final days leading up to the filing deadline, Texas Democrats now have a relatively high-profile candidate to lead their ticket for next year’s elections. After several prominent politicians declined the task of running against Governor Greg Abbott (R), the party will feature a candidate backing “sanctuary” policies: Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez.
Sheriff Lopez threw her hat in the ring Monday morning in what will likely be a lightly contested Democratic Party primary for the governor’s slot on the November ballot. Lopez drew national attention in October 2015 when she announced she would honor immigration detainers on a case-by-case basis, Breitbart Texas reported. Her statement drew harsh criticism from Governor Abbott who said, “sanctuary city policies like those promoted by your recent decision to implement your own case-by-case immigrant detention plan will no longer be tolerated in Texas.”
The governor quickly announced plans to cut state law enforcement grants to sanctuary jurisdictions that chose not to comply with federal immigration law. He also called for the Texas Legislature to take action against such behavior.
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.
In announcing her decision to run for governor, Valdez avoided immigration. There appear to have been no public reports of the sheriff actually declining an immigration detainer from ICE.
The Texas Tribune reported on her announcement by calling her a “serious candidate.” With five days left before the filing deadline, Valdez joins six “little known Democrats” in running for the top spot on the ticket, the Tribune wrote. One of those is the son of the late Texas Governor Mark White. Andrew White is scheduled to announce his campaign on Thursday.
“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. “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.”
The Texas Constitution requires Valdez to immediately step down as the Dallas County Sheriff when she formally makes her announcement. Her campaign said they will inform the Dallas County Commissioners Court of her decisions later on Wednesday.