Lupe Valdez does not quite fit the profile of victorious candidates in the Bush-Cheney Republican rout of 2004, reports the New York Times. She is a daughter of a Mexican migrant farm worker who grew up picking crops from Texas to Michigan. She is a former prison guard and federal agent, a Democrat and a lesbian. And now she is sheriff-elect of Dallas County, the first Democrat elected to the position in more than 25 years and the first woman ever.
Her upset spelled the end of the careers of two members of a scandal-tainted sheriff’s department and flew in the face of strong statewide showings for Republicans riding President Bush’s coattails in his home state. Her final opponent, too, made sure voters knew that she is gay in an election year in which single-sex marriage was a hot-button issue favoring Republicans. But Ms. Valdez, 57, with her mostly novice team, breezed to victory on a margin of 17,000 votes out of 655,000 cast.