Lupe Valdez, Andrew White advance to runoff in Democratic primary for governor

Sami Sparber

Although Lupe Valdez and Andrew White led the pack in the crowded Democratic primary for governor, neither candidate was able to secure the majority of the vote in Tuesday’s election. Come May 22, Valdez and White will go head-to-head in a runoff race. 

With 42.9 percent of the vote, Valdez, a former Dallas County sheriff, came up on top. White, son of late Gov. Mark White, trailed 15.5 percentage points behind.

Jim Henson, director of the UT Texas Politics Project, said a runoff was expected because it was a crowded race, and Valdez and White were prominent candidates.

Both Valdez and White finished significantly ahead of their Democratic opponents, with only two of the other seven candidates receiving more than 5 percent of the vote.

In Travis County, Valdez received the majority of the vote — 56.1 percent compared to White’s 23.3 percent.

“I am really humbled that so many Texans who are ready for a change are giving me the opportunity to lead that change,” Valdez said at her election rally in Dallas, according to The Texas Tribune. “Competition makes us stronger, and I am grateful to all the other candidates for helping us all get stronger.”

At his Houston election night event, White said he is the best candidate to take on Gov. Greg Abbott in November, despite being an underdog.

“We beat the expectations tonight, and we’re going to do it again in May, and we’re going to do it again in November,” White said. “This is going to be a David versus Goliath fight — and remember, David won that fight. And we’re going to win this one, too.”

As predicted, Abbott, seeking re-election, cruised through the Republican primary for governor with 90.4 percent of the vote. In Travis County, Abbott received 81.7 percent of the vote.

Between his $43.3 million “war chest” of campaign funds and nearly 30-year winning streak in statewide elections, Abbott is a formidable opponent. At the end of 2017, he had vastly outraised both Valdez and White, who had $40,347 and $104,475 on hand, respectively.

“Tonight is like winning the first half of a football game,” Abbott said in a KXAN article on Tuesday. “It is not a victory. Many victories were declared at half-time erroneously. We cannot take this for granted. Our future is worth far too much to take the next seven or eight months for granted.”