In the March 6 Democratic primary, Valdez scored 43 percent of the vote in a field of nine candidates. Her next nearest competitor, Andrew White, who she will face in the runoff election, received 27 percent.
“Texas gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez was awarded Game Changer status – a designation given to high-profile federal or statewide races that can have an outsized impact on equality,” the Victory Fund said in its announcement. “If Valdez wins her runoff in May, she will face incumbent Governor Greg Abbott, a staunch opponent of equal rights for LGBTQ people.”
Valdez, who grew up in San Antonio the youngest of eight children in a family of migrant workers, served four terms as Dallas County Sheriff. At the time when she was elected, she had the distinction of being first openly gay female sheriff in the state, and the only Hispanic female sheriff in the country.
“I identify with a lot of Texans in many different ways and I think it’s just the time for change,” Valdez told those gathered at her election watch party after the primary. “And I’m the one who has caused change before and I’m ready to do it again.”
Along with the announcement of Valdez’s endorsement, the Victory Fund gave the nod to 13 other candidates.
Dana Beyer, Maryland Senate, District 18
Cecil Brockman, North Carolina House of Representatives, District 60
David Ermold, Clerk, Rowan County (KY)
Malcolm Kenyatta, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 181
Ricardo Lara, California Insurance Commissioner
Felicia Stewart, Alabama House of Representatives, District 46
Alex Valdez, Colorado House of Representatives, District 5
Jennifer Webb, Florida House of Representatives, District 69
Ricardo White, Michigan House of Representatives, District 6
Endorsed Incumbent Candidates
Steve Glassman, Fort Lauderdale City Commission, District 2
Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General
Daniel Hernandez, Arizona House of Representatives, District 2
Brian Sims, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 182
“We have an unprecedented number of LGBTQ people running for office this cycle – some running races to become historic firsts and others running to take out anti-LGBTQ incumbents and be champions for all their constituents,” said Mayor Annise Parker, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.
“These 14 candidates are values-driven leaders who are committed to equality, but are equally determined to fight for the bread and butter issues important to their communities. We have the opportunity to dramatically increase LGBTQ representation in local governments, state legislatures and the governors’ mansions, so Victory Fund is all-in to ensure our endorsed candidates win on Election Day,” Parker said.
The Victory Fund’s goal is “to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.” Since 1991, it has helped thousands of openly LGBTQ candidates win local, state and federal elections.