Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez to run for Texas governor as Democrat

After 13 years of service as the Dallas County Sheriff, Lupe Valdez will seek the Democratic nomination for Texas Governor. (CBS Austin)

The three-term sheriff of Dallas County has her eye on another office. " I'm stepping up. Estoy obligata. For Texas, for everyone's fair shot to get ahead. I'm in," Lupe Valdez told reporters Wednesday morning. "Opportunity in Texas ought to be as big as this great state," she said.

But a Democrat has not lived in the Texas Governor's Mansion in 22 years, and Republican incumbent Governor Greg Abbott already has north of $40 million in his campaign war chest. The Democrats won't likely match that, but say they don't need that much. "We've been building what we need to build to run a strong coordinated campaign," said Manny Garcia, the deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party.

Garcia also says President Trump's divisiveness will help state races in 2018. "I think it's very clear what's been happening. Trump has been tanking the Republican brand," he said.

That's exactly right, says Professor Brian Smith. "If Trump is very unpopular, if the Republicans' popularity is very low, is to take that and bring it down to the state level," Smith said. He teaches political science at St. Edwards University.

Smith says money is not Valdez' only obstacle. "We know she faces some of the same challenges that all the other Democrats have faced. One, she doesn't have a lot of name recognition," he said.

Valdez was in the national spotlight at the Democratic National Convention last summer. Smith says a Valdez victory is not out of the question. "If you don't run, you don't win," he said.

And Valdez is banking on all of it. "Texans and businesses are begging for a return of common sense, smart investments and just plain sanity," she said.

Andrew White, son of former Governor Mark White, is expected to declare his own candidacy Thursday. Mark White died in the summer of 2017.

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