"I'm in!" Lupe Valdez kicks off campaign for governor of Texas

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez speaks at a law enforcement panel discussion of Senate Bill 4 the so-called Sanctuary Cities Bill in Austin in February

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who announced his intentions to seek a second term this summer, grew up in Duncanville; his father was a stockbroker and insurance agent, his mother a homemaker, Brian Sweany noted in a 2013 Texas Monthly story.

The Texas Constitution requires Valdez to immediately step down as the Dallas County Sheriff when she formally makes her announcement.

Valdez, a former senior agent for the U.S. Customs Service in the Department of Homeland Security, addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia past year but she is largely unknown outside of North Texas. 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.

"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 statement before filing at the Texas Democratic Party headquarters in Austin. She's clashed with Abbott over federal immigration detainers and said opportunity is "out of reach" for many Texans.

You've heard for years that Democrats think Texas could go "purple" soon. "I believe good government can make people's lives better, and I intend to do just that".

Valdez, 70, was first elected in 2004. On the same day of Valdez's announcement, Abbott posted a video of the Dallas Police Association endorsing Abbott.

Valdez's opponents in the Democratic primary include Andrew White, son of former governor Mark White, and Dallas businessman Jeffrey Payne, who owns the popular gay-bar The Dallas Eagle.

Texas Democrats have faced uncomfortable questions for months about whether they can field a credible gubernatorial candidate.

He remains popular among social conservatives who drive Texas politics and is steering the state through the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which could become the costliest national disaster cleanup in USA history. Abbott criticized the move as a sanctuary city policy. Democrats haven't won the governorship in more than two decades.

Over the past year, Valdez has attacked the state's anti-sanctuary cities law, Senate Bill 4, which Abbott has lauded as a measure to improve public safety. At the time, Abbott responded by threatening to pull $250 million in criminal justice grants to counties that followed Valdez's lead, though Dallas never lost any funds.

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