Governor: An Embarrassment of ... Well, Embarrassments
Valdez, White run-off in a battle of long shots
After the March primary, Texas Dems are left with two choices for governor: Andrew White and Lupe Valdez. A Houston entrepreneur who's the son of the late former Gov. Mark White, White sells himself as a centrist Democrat focused on the economy – and one who has a better shot at beating Gov. Greg Abbott in November. Valdez, meanwhile, is the first openly gay Latina sheriff in Texas, and has campaigned to the left of White as a progressive who promises to help struggling families. Both candidates are relatively new, as far as politics (non-law enforcement division) go, and throughout the campaign both have had more missteps than shining moments.
White ruffled feathers in the progressive community early on with his personal anti-choice stance. He clarified that he's pro-choice when in comes to policy but personally anti-abortion, and he recently resigned as an elder at his conservative church over his pro-choice political views and support of marriage equality, two issues strongly condemned by the Presbyterian Church in America. While some may praise White for the decision, it should be noted the church has long held those views, and it wasn't until late April that White made the choice to distance himself. The same line of thinking can be applied to White's announcement – made just last week – that he'd sell his border security firm Geovox Security, but only if he wins the run-off. Running on a pro-immigration agenda, it's questionable why White holds a stake in the company to start.
Meanwhile, Valdez has frustrated young Latinos so much on immigration that local Latino advocacy group Jolt recently chose to endorse her opponent. The reason? At a town hall in late April, Valdez failed to satisfy questions regarding her tenure as Dallas County Sheriff, especially as it relates to the unit's cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Jolt said her explanation still left "many questions." Valdez responded with a lengthy and apologetic statement, and an attempt to actually provide answers. "While I was Sheriff of Dallas County, I complied with detainers or else we could have risked funding for a range of resources, including drug courts, juvenile justice programs, and body cameras," she wrote. "I didn't have the ability to change federal or state policy and Governor Abbott got his way. I wish we could have done more, and that is why I am such an outspoken advocate for comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship."
White and Valdez have plans to hold their first and only debate this Friday, May 11, 7pm at the St. James Episcopal Church, 1941 Webberville Rd. It will be broadcast live at www.kxan.com.