Texas gubernatorial candidates Lupe Valdez and Andrew White finished first and second, respectively, in the state’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, March 7th. Because neither candidate finished with more than 50 percent, the two will have a run-off to determine who will receive the nomination before the general election. Valdez, a former Dallas County Sherriff, captured 42.9 percent of the vote, while White, an investment banker and the son of former Governor Bill White, received 27.4 percent. Several other Democratic candidates finished far behind Valdez and White.
Valdez put up big numbers in the Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio areas. She collected all the southwestern counties where her campaign ran Spanish-language radio advertisements. White performed well throughout the Gulf Coast and Houston regions. Prior to the primary, White was buttressed by newspaper endorsements from The Houston Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News and The San Antonio Express-News. Valdez has countered with support from the Texas AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro.
Texas Democrats cast more than a million ballots, the highest primary total since 2002. The turnout fueled hopes for a blue wave in November, but the Democratic gubernatorial nominee will have an uphill battle usurping Republican Governor Greg Abbott. In the GOP race, Abbot received more than 90 percent support, with the closest challenger garnering only eight percent. The first-term governor remains one of the most popular in the country. Abbot currently has more than $41 million to help stem a Democratic challenger in the general election.
Meanwhile, Valdez’s campaign has only netted $125,000 since December. White has raised more than $1.5 million, much of which remains in his war-chest for the run-off primary later this spring.
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