Former Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez won the Democratic primary runoff for governor on May 22, making her the Democratic nominee who will run against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in November.
Valdez is Hispanic and openly gay, a first for a gubernatorial nominee in Texas and a striking counterpoint to conservative Abbott. Does it get any more Texas than this?
In the primary, she beat Andrew White by more than 25,000 votes — 227,889 votes to White's 204,291, or 52.7 percent to 47.3 percent. White is a Houston investor and the son of former Texas Gov. Mark White, who was in office in the '80s.
Valdez was Dallas County sheriff from 2005-2017. Prior to that, she served in the U.S. Army, and was a federal agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security.
She drew big turnouts in Dallas and Tarrant County, and in towns along the border, including El Paso, McAllen, and Laredo.
Her campaign watch party took place at Ellen's, the Dallas restaurant that recently made international news after it printed an innocuous message about gun reform on its receipts during the NRA convention in Dallas.
In her victory speech, Valdez thanked the various Democratic organizations that had supported her, including the Downtown Dallas Democrats, the Stonewall Democrats, and the Dallas County Young Democrats, as well as her partner Lindsay Browning, then repeated her mantra: that she is "the candidate for the everyday Texan" who wants to unify people regardless of their background.
"I want to work hard to get the support of Texans from every walk of life to make a more tolerant and diverse Texas," she said. "I grew up the daughter of migrant workers — but I got a quality public education, had the honor of serving in the military, had a living wage and healthcare when I needed it, and I got a fighting chance. And now I'm ready for the government to make sure that every Texan also has that same fighting chance."
"Honestly, I am sick and tired of politicians who, when they win, their attitude is, 'I got mine, too bad about you,'" she said.
Addressing the perception that the odds are greatly against her, she said, "I am constantly hearing this is going to be an uphill battle. Please tell me when I didn't have an uphill battle."
Other elections included runoffs for the U.S. House and the Texas Legislature; Texas Tribune has a list of all the runoffs results.