Tuesday was a historic night for women running for public office. A number of the hopeful politicians won their party’s primaries, already chipping away at the glass ceiling.
Lupe Valdez, a lesbian Dallas County sheriff, won the Democratic nomination in the race to become the next governor of Texas. Now she must dethrone current Republican Governor Greg Abbott. She is the first openly gay Latina candidate to win a nomination for governor from any party in Texas.
Valdez credited her win to her grassroots campaign. At last night’s press conference, Valdez told supporters, “Let me find a path for you. Let me find a path for your health care. Let me find a path for your living wage.”
Valdez’s win is considered to be a part of a “blue wave” in a mostly red state. She joins Ortiz Jones and Senator Ted Cruz’s opponent Beto O’Rourke as Democratic candidates who could change the state’s political landscape.
Valdez is no newcomer to politics, having served four terms as the Dallas County sheriff. Perhaps most importantly for her state, she brings a more nuanced perspective to state’s immigration issues than her opponent’s more stringent approach.
Earlier in their careers, Valdez fought Abbott over a case of detaining undocumented immigrants. He took a stand against sanctuary cities and restricted elected officials like Valdez from having any say in the treatment of undocumented immigrants.
“Please tell me when I didn’t have an uphill battle,” she said referring to her campaign to defeat Abbot. She’s faced unlikely odds before. At the height of Republican leadership in the early 2000s, Valdez won her first term as sheriff. Now, she wants to help more Texans.
“We have the people. We have the momentum,” she said of her campaign.
Valdez’s opponent, Abbott, was elected in 2015. This week, Abbott found himself on the receiving end of controversy when in the wake of the Santa Fe High School tragedy his re-election campaign had plans for a shotgun giveaway contest orchestrated. The campaign ended up giving away a $250 gift certificate instead.
“It’s clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and everybody in every state must take action,” he said at a press conference.