Lupe Valdez

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Lupe Valdez
Sheriff of Dallas County
In office
January 1, 2005 – December 6, 2017
Preceded byJim Bowles
Succeeded byMarian Brown
Personal details
Guadalupe Valdez

(1947-10-11) October 11, 1947 (age 71)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationSouthern Nazarene University (BA)
University of Texas, Arlington (MA)
WebsiteOfficial website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army

Guadalupe Valdez (born October 11, 1947) is an American law enforcement official who served as Sheriff of Dallas County, Texas from 2005 to 2017 and was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Texas in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

Early life[edit]

Valdez was born and raised in San Antonio, as the youngest of eight children of Mexican-American migrant farm worker parents.[1] She started life working in the fields but paid her way through college, earning a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. She then earned a Master's degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington.[2][3]

Early career[edit]

Prior to entering law enforcement, Lupe Valdez was an officer in the United States Army Reserve, where she attained the rank of Captain.

Her law enforcement career began as a jailer, first in a county jail and then in a federal prison. She then moved on to investigative roles as an agent of the General Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and, finally, the U.S. Customs Service. With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, she was made a Senior Agent, serving in that role until her retirement in 2004. In January 2004, Lupe Valdez retired to run for the office of Dallas County Sheriff.

Political career[edit]

Election as Sheriff[edit]

On January 2, 2004, Lupe Valdez announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Dallas County Sheriff. During the primary election, she faced three opponents, and finished as the highest vote-getter with 13,867 votes. She subsequently won a run-off election against future Dallas County Judge Jim Foster. Valdez won 73% of the vote in the run-off.

As she entered the general campaign, Valdez was widely considered the underdog in her general election race against Republican Danny Chandler. Chandler, a 30-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, had defeated incumbent Sheriff Jim Bowles in the Republican primary. Bowles, who was tainted by corruption allegations, had held the office for 20 years.

The general election saw Valdez beat Chandler by 51.3% to 48.7%, a margin of some 18,000 votes. The election, combined with the fact that Valdez is female, Hispanic, and a lesbian, made national headlines and was reported overseas.

As an openly lesbian candidate for public office, Valdez's campaign won the backing of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. She was sworn in on January 1, 2005.

Upon taking office as Dallas County Sheriff, Valdez faced a department that was wracked by poor morale, tainted by allegations of corruption and marred by the fact that the Dallas County Jail had begun failing state and federal inspections prior to her election. The jail had failed inspections because of poor sanitation conditions which endanger prisoners, many of whom have not ultimately been found to be guilty of any crime and are merely being held pending being formally charged or, released; a failing smoke evacuation system, unacceptable medical care, and a lack of sufficient guards to meet the legally required guard-to-inmate ratio.[4]

Although the Dallas County Jail had begun failing state and federal inspections prior to Valdez being elected to office, the jail continued to fail inspections every year thereafter until 2010, when the jail passed certification by the State of Texas for the first time since 2003.[4]

Second Term[edit]

Valdez formally filed for re-election to a second term on December 3, 2007.[5] Valdez won the 2008 primary, narrowly avoiding a runoff by winning 50.85% in a four-candidate field on March 4, 2008.[6]

On November 4, 2008, Lupe Valdez was re-elected Sheriff of Dallas County with 388,327 votes to Lowell Cannaday's 322,808 votes, a margin of roughly 65,500. Valdez received over 99,000 more votes than the "Straight Democratic" option. She won in precincts across Dallas County, including formerly Republican areas including Valley Ranch in Irving and Mesquite.[7] She began her second four-year term on January 1, 2009.

In 2010, the Dallas County Jails passed inspection by the State of Texas for the first time since 2003. Completion of a new jail facility in 2009 and continued investment from Dallas County were cited as steps towards re-certification of the Dallas County jail system, which passed inspection once again in 2011.[8]

Also in 2010, Sheriff Valdez was elected to the Democratic National Committee[9] and was appointed by President Barack Obama to a committee regarding immigration reform.[10]

Third and Fourth Terms[edit]

In November 2012, Valdez won a third term, defeating Republican challenger Kirk Launius.

Valdez speaks at the Texas gubernatorial debate at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2018

In 2015, Valdez "changed policies on holding immigrants in the Dallas County jail for federal officials once the person is past his or her release date. People who committed minor offenses aren’t held for up to an additional 48 hours for agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE." This brought a warning from Governor Greg Abbott to "back down from a policy change on federal immigration detention requests."[11]

In November 2016, Valdez won a fourth term with 58% of the vote, again defeating Republican Kirk Launius.[12]

2018 Texas Gubernatorial Election[edit]

In December 2017, Valdez announced her candidacy for Governor of Texas in the 2018 gubernatorial election against incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott.[13] In the March 6, 2018 Primary she got more votes than any other Democrat, leading her closest competitor, Andrew White, son of former governor Mark White, by 16%. However, she only received 43% of the vote, forcing a run-off against White. The run-off occurred on May 22, 2018, resulting in Valdez's victory and making her the first Latina and first openly gay person nominated for governor by a major party in the state.[14] Abbott won the election. [15]


  1. ^ "Lupe Valdez Makes History In Texas By Winning Democratic Nod For Governor". Huffington Post. May 23, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  2. ^ "From farm to mansion? Lupe Valdez relishes underdog role in race for Texas governor". February 16, 2018. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  3. ^ Pollock, Cassandra (December 6, 2017). "Who is Lupe Valdez, the Dallas County sheriff running for governor?". Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Krause, Kevin (August 2010). "After seven years, Dallas County jails pass state inspection". Dallas News. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved December 11, 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)announcement speech
  6. ^ "ENR". Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  7. ^ "Dallas - Election Results". Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  8. ^ Krause, Kevin (March 30, 2012). "Dallas County jails pass third straight state inspection". Dallas News. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 26, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) H-100 Congratulations
  11. ^ "Abbott targets sanctuary cities, Dallas sheriff's new policy," by Grandi Grissonand and Dianne Solis, Dallas Morning News, Oct. 2016
  12. ^ FOX. "Collin, Tarrant elect new sheriffs, Valdez re-elected in Dallas". Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  13. ^ Jeffers Jr., Gromer (November 22, 2017). "Could Dallas County's Lupe Valdez really be Texas Dems' candidate for governor?". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  14. ^ Ruiz-Grossman, Sarah (22 May 2018). "Lupe Valdez Makes History In Texas By Winning Democratic Nod For Governor". Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  15. ^ Sanchez, Carlos (6 Nov 2018). "Greg Abbott Wins a Second Term as Governor". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 16 Nov 2018.

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Jim Bowles
Sheriff of Dallas County
Succeeded by
Marian Brown
Party political offices
Preceded by
Wendy Davis
Democratic nominee for Governor of Texas
Most recent