Two days after wrapping up the Democratic nomination for governor, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez faced her first bit of general election adversity Thursday as information emerged that she is delinquent on 2017 taxes for seven properties in Dallas and Ellis counties.
According to information first reported by the Houston Chronicle and later confirmed to the Observer by the Valdez campaign, she owes more than $12,000 on the properties. Valdez must pay the taxes, which were due at the end of January, by July 1 in order to avoid a 12 percent penalty and the chance that they will be turned over to a collection agency.
In a statement to the Observer, Valdez campaign spokesman Juan Bautista Dominguez blamed Valdez's campaign opponent, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, for the sheriff's inability to pay her bills.
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"As we’ve been saying all along, under Greg Abbott's failed leadership, property taxes are unpredictable and burdensome for Texans everywhere, including Sheriff Lupe Valdez," Bautista Dominguez said. "Sheriff Valdez has made arrangements to pay off 2017 property taxes and plans to do so entirely in the coming months."
Bautista Dominguez disputed another of the claims in the Chronicle report, which alleged that Valdez failed to list a home she owns in Oak Cliff on her required personal financial statement. According to the campaign, one of Valdez's Dallas properties has two addresses designated to it, but the disclosure statement listed only one. The campaign will file an amended report with both addresses, Bautista Dominguez said.
Throughout Valdez's primary campaign against Andrew White, a Houston businessman and son of former Texas Gov. Mark White, she struggled to raise money, but she picked up steam as Tuesday's runoff approached. On her last campaign finance report, filed May 15, Valdez reported raising $208,000 from Feb. 25 until May 15. She had $115,000 on hand, she said.
That was enough cash to beat White, but staying competitive with Abbott is a much taller order. Abbott has amassed a nearly $45 million war chest for the general election, leaving him plenty of cash to tout his record and to go after Valdez, whom he's repeatedly painted as too liberal to lead Texas.