Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Lupe Valdez makes stop in Dallas

Lupe Valdez has agreed to debate rival Andrew White before the two Democrats for governor meet in the upcoming runoff election.

The former Dallas County Sheriff was campaigning in Dallas Wednesday night. She had to answer questions about a recent apology she issued following a town hall where critics say she did a bad job explaining her record as sheriff.

With less than two weeks left before the start of early voting, the Democratic gubernatorial hopeful shook hands with supporters in Dallas as she tries to keep her lead in the polls.

Since the primary election that landed Valdez in a runoff with White, she’s faced some criticism and setbacks.

Last weekend in Austin, a group mobilizing Latino voters ended up endorsing the non-Latino candidate, Andrew White. The group says it was disappointed with an answer she gave when it came to “Valdez cooperating with federal immigration officials when she was Dallas County sheriff.

“I didn’t bring ICE to the jail. ICE was already there at least one or two years before I got there,” she clarified. “And I never thought that we had any say and even now I don’t think you have any say of ICE being in and out of your jail.”

Speaking to a small crowd of about 20 voters, Valdez says public education, health care and fair pay are her three key issues. She stumbled when asked to elaborate.

“We want to fight for universal prekindergarten, and now I’m going on to health care. We talk about education and healthcare and economic opportunities,” she said.

Despite the setbacks, Valdez supporters believe she can go all the way.

The debate will be held in Austin on May 11. The time and place have yet to be determined.