Former Dallas Co. sheriff wins Democratic runoff for governor

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Associated Press has called the Democratic runoff race for governor for Lupe Valdez. Andrew White has 47 percent of the vote as of 9:35 p.m. 

According to the Secretary of State’s website as of 7:45 p.m., Andrew White was leading Lupe Valdez by only 400 votes. By 8:30 p.m., Valdez had taken the lead with 4,000 ahead of White—127,580 to 123,780. By 9:30 p.m. Valdez had 53 percent of the vote. 

Valdez will now face Gov. Greg Abbott in November’s general election.

Valdez served four terms as sheriff of Dallas County. She stepped down late last year to launch her campaign for governor.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued a statement saying the party made history electing the first Latina and first openly LGBTQ Texan to serve as a major party nominee for governor.

“Lupe Valdez has spent a lifetime breaking down barriers and defending Texans,” Hinojosa said. “In Lupe’s story, we see the resiliency and tenacity of Texans. Her candidacy is a signal to every child that no matter the color of your skin, who you love or where you come from, in Texas, you’ve got a fair shot.”

In her victory speech, Valdez said being able to receive a quality public education, the honor of serving in the military and the opportunity to earn a living wage gave her a fighting chance.

“I need a governor and I’m going to be a governor who will say, “Now let me find a path for you, now let me find a path for your healthcare, let me find a path for your living wage, let me find a path for your public education,” Valdez said.

Valdez has an ongoing conflict with Gov. Greg Abbott over immigration policy. Back in 2015, she announced that the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office would not turn over all undocumented offenders to federal agents. Valdez said instead the department would do so on a case-by-case basis.

The conflict was one motivating factor in Abbott’s push for anti-sanctuary cities legislation. Abbott’s campaign released an attack ad calling her wrong for Texas, pulling snippets from previous media interviews she’s done on various state issues.

White has lived in the governor’s mansion before — back in the 1980s when he was the teenage son of former Texas Governor Mark White. He offered his full endorsement and support to Valdez Tuesday evening.

White is the president of an equity firm. Before this campaign, he had not been active in politics. He made the decision to join the race after his father’s death last August. White said Abbott’s leadership style is the antithesis of his father’s style.

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