Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Dallas County Sheriff announces gubernatorial candidacy

Dallas County Sheriff announces gubernatorial candidacy

"For far too long, hardworking Texans have been left behind, kept out, and, frankly, attacked for who they are, where they come from, and who they love", Valdez said at the press conference announcing her candidacy. But Democratic officials are trotting her out there with the hopes that the first Hispanic - and openly gay - female sheriff in Texas will boost turnout, particularly in the Latino community, and help other down-ballot candidates. "I think that dynamic is good and hopefully makes for an interesting choice and conversations for Democrats in 2018 in the primary".

The daughter of migrant farm workers, Valdez grew up in San Antonio and served as a captain in the U.S. Army before entering law enforcement-working in county and federal prisons, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Department of Homeland Security-before being elected Dallas County sheriff in 2004.

Numerous questions directed toward Valdez were about the uphill battle she's facing in a Republican state.

The new "sanctuary cities" law, known as SB4, is Abbott's toughest crackdown on immigration and was partly fueled by Valdez's decision in 2015 that Dallas jails would stop automatically honoring federal immigration detainers for minor offenses.

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.

Valdez said she was undaunted by Abbott's campaign fund-raising edge or the fact the state has voted overwhelmingly Republican for years.

Republicans said Wednesday her positions will make her an easy target for Abbott, who polls show riding a wave of popularity despite his support of several divisive issues during this year's legislative session, including the so-called bathroom bill that pitted conservatives against business interests in Texas.

Jones noted that an "ideal candidate" would be someone with more name recognition, such as Julián or Joaquin Castro, but that Valdez "is a second-best option". Her office oversees the second largest county jail in Texas.

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

Democratic consultant Ed Espinoza, with the group Progress Texas, said despite any Democrat who runs has a shot at defeating Abbott in November. "They can't just win with democratic voters, they have to turn out Democrats". Valdez is easily the most high-profile Democrat to throw her hat in the ring for 2018-Democrats couldn't talk either of the Castros, Dallas representative Rafael Anchia, or actor Eva Longoria into what is likely to be a doomed campaign-and the all but certain victor of her party's primary. "Growing up, we always had faith", Valdez said Wednesday morning.

Abbott now remains unopposed going into the Republican primary.

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

While Valdez becomes the highest-profile Democratic gubernatorial candidate to date, she still faces an uphill battle against Abbott.

"For the Dreamers, if this isn't their country, they don't have a country", Valdez said.

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