Updated at 5:21 p.m.
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez has not announced she is running as a Democrat in the 2018 gubernatorial primary race, but political experts say that doesn’t mean she isn’t planning on running. And there may also be other top tier Democrats running for the position.
While Valdez has yet to officially announce her resignation and that she will be running in the upcoming statewide election, she has said she is still considering the next phase of her career. But Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor with the University of Houston, says he wouldn’t count Valdez out.
“I think the likelihood is that she will run,” he said. “There’s been a lot of interest in that happening and once you’ve got a media swarm and you’ve got some backing from the party, it’s certainly the case that a candidate is likely to follow along. If she believes there is enough support from the Democrats, then that’s a big boost.”
Rottinghaus said Valdez will announce her plans sometime next week, and added she’s not the only top tier candidate eyeing the top of the party’s ticket. Houston native Andrew White, son of the late Gov. Mark White, said he is seriously considering a run for governor as a Democrat, but has yet to officially file.
White said his campaign will likely focus on Greg Abbott’s policies as governor.
“I don’t see where (Abbott) is coming from,” he said. “And the answer is, he’s worried about 200,000 of the most fringed voters in his primary. He’s not worried about the rest of us and that’s why I’m running.”
But Rottinghaus said it could be an uphill climb for White. He’s not as well known as Valdez and is labeled a Pro-life Democrat, something that could cause a bit of friction during the primary election, he added.
And then there’s the other hurdle, the $45 million in campaign funds that Abbott’s campaign is sitting on.
The deadline for candidates to file for the State’s 2018 primary election is Dec. 11.
CORRECTION: The photo has been updated with the correct names of the potential candidates. Andrew White is expected to run for Texas governor in 2018.