Lupe Valdez Looks to LGBT and Latino Communities for Support

The former Dallas County Sheriff is the first Latina and first openly gay candidate for governor in Texas

Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez solidified her run for governor with a win in Tuesday’s primary runoff election over Andrew White.

Valdez became the first Latina and the first openly gay gubernatorial candidate in Texas.

During her victory speech on Tuesday night, Valdez told her supporters she knows the general election will be an uphill battle, and it's one that will require a lot of support, including from two big voting groups.

"I grew up the daughter of migrant workers in the poorest neighborhood in San Antonio," she said to the crowd.

It is a message the former sheriff hopes will resonate with voters, including Latinos.

But will it?

"She just can't count on it," Rene Martinez of the Dallas chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens said. "'Hey, I'm Latina so vote for me,' just can't do that anymore."

The leader of a chapter of LULAC said he will vote for Valdez come November, but admitted he voted for her challenger in the runoff.

"I think he was a better candidate," Martinez said. "She's got to go out and excite the Latino community. The Latino community is not monolithic. We're very diverse."

He wants to hear her speak out about the issues facing Hispanics in Texas.

"Gun control, border security, DACA, immigration, public education, public finance, she's got to talk about them," he said.

Valdez is also looking for continued support among the LGBT community.

"The excitement is there, especially in the Oak Lawn community," Lee Daugherty, president of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, said. "Her story is very important and it's very inspiring to a lot of people."

When asked what Valdez has done for the LGBT community in order to garner its support, Daugherty responded with a laugh, "I think it goes back to being a leader…It's really important for this community to have voices in power because a lot of times in Austin we don't have those voices and a lot of anti-LGBT bills and narrative and rhetoric comes out of our state legislature."

Supporters in these two minority communities said they are cautiously optimistic that Valdez may bring more than just a symbolic change to the state.

Contact Us