By John Wright
Texas could have not one, not two, but three openly LGBTQ candidates for governor next year.
The Texas Tribune reported Monday that longtime Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez is exploring a campaign for the Democratic nomination.
If she runs, the 70-year-old Valdez would become not only the third LGBTQ candidate to enter race—but also the best-known Democrat.
First elected in 2004, Valdez is Dallas County’s first female, first Hispanic and first openly LGBTQ sheriff. Her victory was a precursor to the Democratic sweep that turned Dallas County blue in 2006.
Attacked for her sexual orientation during her first few campaigns, Valdez later implemented comprehensive policies protecting LGBTQ sheriff’s office employees and Dallas County jail inmates.
The other LGBTQ candidates who’ve announced campaigns for Texas governor in 2018 are Dallas businessman and gay bar owner Jeffrey Payne and Austin’s Garry Brown, who serves as executive assistant to Williamson County Commissioner Terry Cook.
The winner of the Democratic Primary is expected to face off against rabidly anti-LGBTQ incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in the November general election.
The 30-day filing period for 2018 elections begins Saturday, Nov. 11.