Texas Elections 2018More in this series
*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a Democrat who has been exploring a run for governor, doesn't appear ready to quit her day job for a campaign yet, despite reports she resigned ahead of a likely bid.
Multiple local news outlets in North Texas reported her resignation Wednesday evening. At least two cited Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Carol Donovan as the source of the news. But a few hours later, Valdez's spokeswoman denied the reports.
“As she has stated in the past, the Sheriff is considering the next stage in her career," said the spokeswoman Melinda Urbina. "A letter of resignation was not submitted today. The Sheriff will make a formal announcement when her final decision is made.”
Valdez told The Texas Tribune earlier this month that she was exploring a challenge to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. He's seeking a second term in 2018.
Democrats have been looking for a serious gubernatorial contender ahead of the Dec. 11 deadline for candidates to file for the 2018 primaries. So far only little-known Democrats have lined up to take on Abbott.
Last month, Valdez told the Tribune she believes it's "time for a change" in GOP-dominated state government.
"Too much of one thing corrupts, and I'm a strong believer in a two-party system," she said. "I'm hoping that enough people are seeing that too much one-sided is not healthy for Texas."
First elected in 2004, Valdez is serving her fourth term as sheriff of Dallas County, the second most populous county in the state and a Democratic stronghold. Her election in Dallas made national news because she became the first openly gay female sheriff in the state, and the only Hispanic female sheriff in the country.
The list of other candidates exploring a run includes Dallas businessman Jeffrey Payne and Tom Wakely, a former congressional candidate from San Antonio.
Andrew White, the son of late Gov. Mark White, has been exploring a run for a number of weeks. Amid reports that Valdez was running, White said he is "full steam ahead" with preparations for a potential run and will have an announcement next week.