By John Celock
Texas Democrats will have to wait until May to find out who will be the party’s nominee to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in November.
Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and businessman Andrew White advanced to the May 22 runoff based on Tuesday’s primary results. Valdez, viewed as the Democratic frontrunner, captured 42.4 percent of the primary vote, compared to 27.7 percent for White, the son of former Gov. Mark White (D).
Valdez, a career law enforcement officer, has been viewed as the Democrat’s top recruit for the Texas governorship since she stepped down as sheriff in December to run. Valdez was first elected Dallas County sheriff in 2004.
If elected Valdez would be the first Latina to be elected Texas governor and the first openly gay individual to be elected to a state governorship in American history. Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) was the first openly gay governor, but did not publicly announce his sexual orientation until after he was in office. Valdez would also be the third woman elected Texas governor following Democrat Ann Richard who served from 1991 to 1995 and Democrat Miriam Ferguson who served from 1925 to 1927 and 1933 to 1935.
White, a Houston businessman, has been running as the moderate candidate in the race, focusing primarily on education and raising teacher salaries. White’s father served as Texas governor from 1983 to 1987 and was defeated in a 1990 comeback attempt by Richards.