Lupe Valdez Becomes America’s First Out Lesbian Sheriff
Even after over 20 years working in law enforcement, Latina, lesbian, former migrant farm worker Lupe Valdez was seen as the underdog in her race for Dallas County Sheriff. However, the 2004 vote swung in her favor and was elected as the first Democrat in the position in 25 years and the first woman elected to the role by a 17,000 vote margin. Valdez also made history as the first out lesbian to be elected as a county sheriff anywhere in the United States. Valdez was reelected four more times and unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Texas in 2018.
In its 2004 Annual Report, LGBTQ Victory Fund emphasized its close partnership with the Valdez campaign:
Lupe Valdez won a stunning victory in Dallas County, Texas, where she was elected Sheriff. Lupe, who has over 20 years of experience in law enforcement, promised to bring integrity back to the office that had been embroiled in scandal over the misuse of funds. In the final weeks of the campaign, Lupe’s opponent was accused of violating campaign finance law, which, combined with Lupe’s experience and appeal, was enough to put her over the top. Lupe and her campaign manager attended the Leadership Institute’s Candidate & Campaign Training in April and received additional strategic advice throughout her campaign. Victory Fund donors provided $10,000 to her campaign.