Texas Gov. Greg Abbott finally has a Democratic challenger who is gaining some widespread attention, after months of conjecture about whether the Democrats would be able to mount a serious candidate. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez was profiled in the Los Angeles Times this week.
Valdez is the first Latina woman to become a sheriff in Texas, and she is the state’s first openly gay sheriff. At this stage, it’s unlikely that Valdez will beat the Republican Abbott, a popular governor with a massive $50 million campaign war chest.
And yet this is an unusual year, with Republicans across the country facing strong headwinds due to President Trump’s historic unpopularity in polls.
And Valdez is no stranger to long odds. She was elected sheriff as a Latina gay woman in Texas, defeating an incumbent in a county that hadn’t elected a Democrat in two decades. At the time, she had no experience in public office. That was 13 years ago.