In Texas, This Lesbian Latina Nominee Just Got One Step Closer To Unseating An Anti-LGBTQ Xenophobic Governor

credit: Facebook / Lupe Valdez

Hey, Texas: There’s a new sheriff in town, and she’s queer, Latina and actually was an elected officer for 12 years. On Tuesday, Lupe Valdez won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the Lone Star State.

The former Dallas County Sheriff made history when she beat out Democratic candidate Andrew White to become the first openly gay and Latina person to be nominated for governor by a major party in Texas.

“Tonight is a victory for all of us who are fighting for a stronger and fairer Texas. A tolerant and diverse Texas. A Texas where the everyday person has a voice and a fair shot — just as I had,” the 70-year-old Mexican-American nominee told supporters as she accepted the nomination in a speech Tuesday evening.

In November, she hopes to unseat Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in the general election, which many have described as an “uphill battle.” Not only has the incumbent raised more than $40 million for his re-election campaign — Valdez, in contrast, has amassed $200,000 — but the controversial Abbott had a decisive victory over his 2014 contender, then-state Sen. Wendy Davis. Even more, Texas has not elected a Democratic governor since 1990, when the late feminist Ann Richards won and governed until 1995.

Valdez, however, is up for the challenge. The nation’s first Latina sheriff, she now seeks the title of her state’s first Latina governor.

“I am constantly hearing this is an uphill battle. Please, tell me when I didn’t have an uphill battle,” the former US Army captain told the crowd.

To win, Valdez will need to increase the historically low turnout rate among Latinxs, who make up 40 percent of the Texas population and tend to vote Democrat.

Valdez, who has faced some criticism from local Latinx activists throughout her campaign for her department’s cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, is also considered a fierce opponent of her state’s anti-immigrant efforts.

Last year, Abbott signed the divisive Senate Bill 4 into law, which banned sanctuary cities and required cooperation between local authorities and federal deportation agents. Valdez has long been critical of this practice, previously stating that her department would only work with ICE on a case-by-case basis.

“People who rape, murder and abuse, commit violent crimes, I have no trouble saying no to ― and I often joke I wish I could say that to a lot of Americans,” she told the Huffington Post in March. “But people who came here for a better life, get picked up for a broken tail light or speeding, who make as many mistakes as the rest of us Americans make … we should just leave them alone.”

Valdez wasn’t the only woman of color to make history on Tuesday. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams became the first Black woman to ever be nominated for governor by a major political party. Both women will face their opponents in a general election in November.

Read: There’s A Wave Of Latina Candidates In The Midterms — And Their Reason For Running Might Inspire You To Do The Same

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