Lupe Valdez supporters watch a local news channel report that Valdez would win the runoff against Andrew White. The Valdez watch party was at Ellen's in West End.EXPAND
Lupe Valdez supporters watch a local news channel report that Valdez would win the runoff against Andrew White. The Valdez watch party was at Ellen's in West End.
Dalton LaFerney

Lupe Valdez Defeats Andrew White, Making the Left and Probably Greg Abbott Very Happy

At around 8 p.m. Tuesday, just five votes separated Lupe Valdez and Andrew White in the runoff for the Democratic primary for Texas governor. By 10 p.m., White, speaking from his home in Houston, was congratulating Valdez for her win while Valdez supporters packed a banquet room inside Ellen’s in West End. Fifteen minutes later, one of the shortest women in the building walked in through a path of news reporters, activists and campaign staffers.

Valdez garnered heavy support from people in Dallas County last night, leading the former Dallas County sheriff to victory over White, a Houston businessman and the son of late former Gov. Mark White.

She will work through another uphill battle to try to oust Republican incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott in November.

“Tell me when I didn’t have an uphill battle,” Valdez said in her victory speech. “I am getting darn good at uphill battles.”

Red-state governors' races are projected to be heated this year. Valdez was first elected as Dallas County sheriff the same night George W. Bush was elected for his second term as president.

By Wednesday morning, with just about every vote counted, Valdez had about 53 percent of the almost 430,000 people who showed up to vote.

“Now comes the hard part,” she said.

People on the left expressed exhilaration online about the Valdez win. The leading takeaway is that she’s the first openly lesbian woman and the first Latina to take the nomination.

Abbott’s account posted on Twitter a video advertisement that portrayed his opponent as “vague” and uninformed outside of law enforcement issues, citing opinion articles from The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and Fort Worth Star-Telegram, among other outlets.

Most of the people inside Ellen’s obviously supported Valdez. Some outside of the restaurant hadn't kept up with the election. One guy at a Dallas Area Rapid Transit station a few blocks away said, “I’m not into it." Another, a man from Louisiana who traveled to Dallas four years ago on a Greyhound, said he was homeless.

“I live under that bridge right there,” he said, nodding to the Interstate 35 overpass area. “I ain’t watched TV in four years,” he said.

“It ain't harming me or helping me,” he said. “It don’t affect me. It might, maybe, if I get locked up.”

Inside, Valdez told her supporters through TV news cameras and Facebook Live videos, “All of us, together, we’re gonna fight for change.”

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