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Lupe Valdez, a Democratic candidate for governor, has declared migrant worker roots

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Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez at the Annie's List luncheon in Dallas last month

"I'm in", Lupe Valdez said Wednesday morning in Austin as she announced her candidacy for governor of Texas.

Democrat Lupe Valdez has signed paperwork to run for Texas governor, saying the state's Republican-controlled government shouldn't keep "putting a spin on lies and creating fear".

Valdez made the announcement at the Texas Democratic Party Headquarters in downtown Austin.

Valdez served Dallas County as sheriff for 13 years.

While Valdez becomes the highest-profile Democratic gubernatorial candidate to date, she still faces an uphill battle against Abbott.

Last week, Dallas County Democratic Party chairwoman Carol Donovan told WFAA that Valdez meant to quit and run for governor.

Observers at this city's paper of record and elsewhere have reckoned that if Valdez can help mobilize Hispanic voters, sort of the sleeping giant of Texas politics, while boosting down-ticket candidates, then that may be a consolation prize to mounting a credible challenge to Republicans' statewide dominance in 2018.

Valdez will resign as sheriff to run for governor.

The Dallas County Sheriff stepped down from that job, looking for a bigger one.

She is the second gay Democrat running for governor. At the time, Abbott responded by threatening to pull $250 million in criminal justice grants to counties that followed Valdez's lead, though Dallas never lost any funds.

Republicans said Wednesday her positions will make her an easy target for Abbott, who polls show riding a wave of popularity despite his support of several divisive issues during this year's legislative session, including the so-called bathroom bill that pitted conservatives against business interests in Texas.

"I think we're going to raise whatever money's necessary", she said.

Abbott now remains unopposed going into the Republican primary.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins reacted to the announcement Wednesday via Twitter, thanking Valdez for her leadership.

The new "sanctuary cities" law, known as SB4, is Abbott's toughest crackdown on immigration and was partly fueled by Valdez's decision in 2015 that Dallas jails would stop automatically honoring federal immigration detainers for minor offenses.

Valdez brushed off the endorsement, suggesting to reporters that it does not reflect the view of the full membership of the association.

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