SocraticGadfly: Lupe Valdez is OFFICIALLY in the ring for Texas governor (updated)

December 06, 2017

Lupe Valdez is OFFICIALLY in the ring for Texas governor (updated)

Lupe Valdez, fmr Dallas Co. Sheriff
What was rumored a couple of weeks ago now seems official — Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez has announced she has resigned to run for governor.

UPDATE, Nov. 30: The Texas Trib says there appears to have been some gun-jumping by North Texas media last night, whether out of enthusiasm for her candidacy or misinformation by the Dallas County Democratic Party. She has NOT officially resigned as of Thursday morning.

UPDATE 2, Dec. 6: It's now official, per announcement.

On the surface, this seems to  check all the boxes that Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa and allies could want in terms of visibility. (The Chronic notes that she's reportedly his personal choice.) Beyond local, regional and possibly state visibility, she is also "connected," connected enough to have been named to the Democratic National Committee in 2010. (Meanwhile, it's funny AND weird that Gromer Jeffers says she's expected to officially file "as early as next week." Gromer, she's only got 12 days left, and you know the calendar.)

Beyond that, she checks the right boxes on social issues, and, in the wake of Senate Bill 4 on sanctuary cities, checks the right box on that, too.

Indeed, that's part of her story. She was born the child of migrant farm workers, so she knows the immigration story. As is being lesbian along with a woman. No arguing that. (Also no doubt that in her first run for re-election, she faced definite right-wing smears, led by then-Dallas Snooze op-ed "pundit" Rod Dreher.)

In fact, in 2015, looking ahead a couple of years, I said the party, at a minimum, could do far worse. (Andrew White, this year, certainly comes to mind.)

I've met Valdez in the past, when I lived in the Metroplex. Never did an actual interview, but talked with her at one community event in the Best Southwest suburbs. Besides her "story" she is generally personable, no doubt about it. And, per that link immediately above, her story, unlike that of Wendy Davis, needs no "polishing."

But, she's got baggage.

That starts with the failed state jail inspections in years past at Lew Sterrett. Yes, that started under her GOP predecessor Jim Bowles. But, it continued under her. Even if we assign the 2005 fail, as well as 2003 and 2004 to Bowles. she still, with 2006-09 failed inspections, had one more than him.

John Wiley Price, Our Man Downtown, took her to the proverbial woodshed in the middle of that period, for not keeping him in the loop — whether she was legally required to or not. Worse, the "loop" was having the Discovery Channel film improvements at Lew Sterrett — improvements that still weren't good enough for the state of Texas for two more years.

That was the same year that she got sued for false imprisonment. (Update: It was eventually denied a hearing in the federal system.) The "whys" of what led to the suit speak of an ongoing lack of organizational skills in the department, and fish rot from the head down.

As noted, I said in 2015 that she could be a good candidate, because of visibility issues and she might be less of a DINO than some in the past. Hell, she'd surely turn out the Hispanic vote better than fake Dem Tony Sanchez did in 2002.

But, that 2015 post was before Tom Wakely threw his Stetson, or Panama , whichever it is, in the race.

Beyond support for LGBT rights, and presumably reproductive freedom, and the right of sanctuary cities to be sanctuary cities to illegal immigrants, what sort of a platform will she have? Wakely's already on the record about supporting not just single-payer health care, but wanting a Texas state level version of a National Health Service, with the state of Texas having government owned health clinics around the state. And more. He wants to legalize pot. He's tough on climate change. He wants stronger gun control.

Until I hear Valdez flesh out some actual policy positions, assuming that Greens either don't run a candidate or don't run someone better than Brandon Parmer, Wakely's got my support. And per Brains' take earlier on initial rumors, how much of a "law-and-order Dem" is she? Specifically, versus Wakely on legalizing pot? Remember, she had years and years at Homeland Security, pre-merger Customs before that, and the federal prison system before that. What's her take on decarceration? Fifth Amendment issues? More? Remember, contra Democrats at the federal level who say "Oh the SCOTUS," that even "liberal" Justices don't always support civil liberties in the face of "law and order."


Personally, this is the most interested I've been in a Texas Democratic gubernatorial race since being eligible to vote in Texas.

Note: In 1994, I had moved here too late to vote vote Miss Ann, as I presume I would have, against Shrub. With me being a leftist of sorts, not just an evolving liberal, today, I surely still would have voted for her if I had 1994 choices with no Green Party and no viable, interesting independents. In 1998, I'd moved out of state by the general. Not sure I would have voted for Gary Mauro or not. I bought the idea of some state Dems and many national ones to let Shrub have a cakewalk. OTOH, "Democratic" Lite Guv Bob Bullock had already given Shrub a cakewalk path to the presidency. He' the second worst Texas ConservaDem of the last 20 years, behind only John Sharp. Sharp is worse for being less competent. And, speaking of?

Sharp's hand-corralled "dream team" candidate of Tony Sanchez in 2002 was barf-inducing. I can't remember if I voted for Dan Morales in the primary or not.

The late-entered Chris Bell was a bleah choice in 2006, and since then has proved that his "good government" schtick is bullshit. I voted for him over even worse choices in the primary, and over Kinky Friedman, who threw away a semi-serious chance at getting elected.

Bill White in 2010 was only slightly less bland than Bell, and a Dem insider neoliberal. And, with a Green option, I voted Deb Shafto in the general. Since Greens already had ballot access, I can't remember if I voted in the Dem primary or not.

Wendy Davis certainly wasn't bland in 2014. But, between her and Green pseudocandidate Brandon Parmer, I undervoted.

And Wakely's already been co-campaigning with Lite Gov candidate Tom Cooper, more of a dream team than Sharp's. Fortunately, they've not had Beto O'Rourke in their loop; Brains says (and I'm with him) that he's too much of a squish and that Sema Hernandez is the best Dem in that primary.

Speaking of Greens? The state party is reportedly still deliberating whether to seek ballot access. For petition-signing purposes, it had better have a decision before the start of early voting, and if it's a "go," announce it loud and clear. Wakely's got a platform that's as solid as many a Green candidate would put together. And, Valdez may well not be bad.

I'm not just talking about governor, though; what I'm getting at is that this governor's primary is quite possibly going to draw in a bunch of left-winger Dems who can't sign Green petitions if they vote in the Dem primary. And, that then means that if a ballot access drive is started tardily, downballot Greens suffer.

Hat tip to Brains for noting the non-resignation AND for noting how Valdez would very likely boost turnout and jazz up down-ballot Democratic races.

That said, if Greens do decide to do a ballot access drive (which they had BETTER do if Dems don't fill up their CCA card) I'll have to sit out if I want to sign it.

No comments: