Lupe Valdez, a Democratic candidate for governor, has declared migrant worker roots

Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez to run for governor; announcement today in Austin

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez announced Wednesday morning that she is running for governor, giving Texas Democrats a serious candidate for the top job with five days until the candidate filing deadline for the 2018 primaries.

After attaining the rank of captain in the U.S. Army, Valdez went on to work as a federal agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and, later, the Department of Homeland Security, focusing on fraud and drug cases for nearly 30 years before being elected sheriff of Dallas County, the state's second most populous county. Valdez's campaign said she will "officially notify" Dallas County commissioners of her decision to run for governor this morning. Her office oversees the second largest county jail in Texas. News reports last week had her on the verge of resigning her position as sheriff to run, but she delayed that formal announcement until Wednesday.

"If we listen to each other ... we can make changes", Valdez said.

Using a mock dating website called "DHarmony", the search clicks through 10 well-known Democrats who declined to run against Abbott, from U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio to former Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Davis.

Abbott now remains unopposed going into the Republican primary.

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In the fight against Abbott, who has months of preparation, a $41 million war chest and a Republican incumbency to boost him along, Valdez will be a severe underdog should she secure the Democratic nomination.

That move prompted Abbott to warn Valdez in a letter that Texas sheriffs who did not cooperate with federal "detainers" would face losing state grant money.

Abbott's campaign had no immediate reaction to Valdez's candidacy.

Over the past year, Valdez has attacked the state's anti-sanctuary cities law, Senate Bill 4, which Abbott has lauded as a measure to improve public safety. Hours after she formally announced, his campaign team trumpeted an endorsement by the Dallas Police Association, a notable law-enforcement group in Valdez' hometown. Observers say Valdez is the strongest Democratic challenger in the race, but winning office will be an uphill battle. "I think we'd be a great match".

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