In a statement this morning, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez says she will resign and file for governor at the Texas Democratic Party headquarters in Austin later this morning.
Houston entrepreneur Andrew White, the son of the late former Gov. Mark White and who is expected to announce his bid for governor on Thursday, said he welcomes Valdez' candidacy because it will allow him and other Democrats to highlight Abbott policies that he says are out of step with those of most Texans, not just the conservative GOP voters they cater to.
Meanwhile, candidates for Valdez's soon-to-be-vacant sheriff's job are lining up. Her office oversees the second largest county jail in Texas. Former state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, was thought to be a credible challenger to Abbott after Rick Perry left the seat open in 2012.
If elected, Valdez would be the first Democrat to serve since Ann Richards was governor for one term in the early 1990s, the second woman in Texas history to hold the post.
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez will officially announce her candidacy for governor during a live event in Austin at 11:45 a.m., you can see it in the video player above. At the time, Abbott responded by threatening to pull $250 million in criminal justice grants to counties that followed Valdez's lead, though Dallas never lost any funds.
They will appear on the Democratic primary ballot next March 6. Democrats haven't won the governorship in more than two decades.
Valdez said she looks forward to spending the next year speaking with Texans about issues such as healthcare and immigration, specifically addressing the fear many undocumented immigrants have of deportation. Abbott may have the money.
Valdez brushed off the endorsement, suggesting to reporters that it does not reflect the view of the full membership of the association.
Valdez is easily the most high-profile Democrat to throw her hat in the ring for 2018-Democrats couldn't talk either of the Castros, Dallas representative Rafael Anchia, or actor Eva Longoria into what is likely to be a doomed campaign-and the all but certain victor of her party's primary.
"If we listen to each other ... we can make changes", Valdez said. "I think we'd be a great match".