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Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez announced Wednesday in Austin she will challenge Gov. Greg Abbott in the upcoming 2018 election.

Running as a Democrat, Valdez will be the underdog in Texas, which hasn’t elected a blue candidate since 1994. However, Valdez’s career has been built on “firsts.”


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An Army veteran, Valdez became the first female Hispanic sheriff as well as Texas’ first openly gay female sheriff 12 years ago when she took the helm of the Dallas Sheriff’s Office.

She is also a former senior agent for the U.S. Customs Service in the Department of Homeland Security.

She will resign her position as sheriff to run against Abbott for governor.

Valdez is running on a platform of increasing opportunity for all Texans and having a government that works for its citizens.

“Like so many hardworking Texans, I know it’s tough deciding between buying food, finding a decent place to live, and setting aside money for college tuition. Opportunity in Texas ought to be as big as this great state, but it is out of reach for far too many, that’s why I’m running for Texas Governor,” Valdez said in her announcement.

Abbott will seek his second term in office and has already raised $40 million for his campaign coffers. In 2014, Abbott beat his Democratic opponent, former state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, by 20 points.

RELATED: Dallas sheriff Lupe Valdez honors fallen officers at DNC but is interrupted

Although she is not well-known across the state, Valdez has appeared on the national stage.

Last year, Valdez addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, speaking about the Blue Lives Matter movement. Valdez lost five of her officers after they were gunned down in Dallas.

After announcing her campaign, Valdez plans to begin a Texas tour to introduce herself to the rest of the state and raise money for her campaign.

She has the following message for Texas: “I’m a proud Texas Democrat. I believe good government can make people’s lives better, and I intend to do just that.”

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