Chris Hollins pulls out of race for Houston mayor amid Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's bid announcement

Pooja Lodhia Image
Friday, April 7, 2023
Former Harris County clerk suspends mayoral campaign
The path to victory gets complicated, Chris Hollins said as he announced instead of running for mayor, he will seek the office of Houston's city controller.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The race for the mayor of Houston is starting to tighten up, and a new announcement on Thursday had further shaken up the competition.

More than a year into his mayoral campaign, former Harris County clerk Chris Hollins has announced he's pulling himself from the race and will be running for Houston's city controller, the city's chief financial officer.

"With every new candidate, the dynamics change," he said. "The path to victory gets complicated."

The announcement has been expected since Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee announced her bid for mayor last week.

SEE ALSO: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee joins crowded field running in Houston mayoral race

Hollins confirmed the two have met in the past week, and on Thursday evening, she said in a statement that she applauded his decision to drop out of the mayoral race and enter the race for city controller.

"The congresswoman and I have a long relationship. We've met on several occasions to talk about politics, to talk about life, and the future of the city of Houston," Hollins said. "Those conversations are always private. I wish her well in this race and continue to wish her well."

Those interested in running for office technically cannot file to get themselves on the ballot until the end of July. Still, with the recent announcement as of Thursday, 15 people have filed to run for mayor of Houston.

That includes some recognizable names, like 14-term US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, John Whitmire, who is the most senior member of the Texas Senate, former city council member Amanda Edwards, current council member Robert Gallegos, attorney Lee Kaplan, and former METRO chair Gilbert Garcia.

"There really were no lanes left for Chris Hollins in the mayoral race," Mark Jones, Rice University political science professor, explained. "Sheila Jackson Lee was occupying them."

If no candidate gets 50% in November's election, the top two candidates will go to a runoff in December.

"The current dynamics suggest we would have a runoff between John Whitmire and Sheila Jackson Lee," Jones said. "In that runoff, John Whitmire would defeat Sheila Jackson Lee."

SEE ALSO: Experts break down how Houston's mayoral job comes with unique amount of power

The current mayor, Sylvester Turner, cannot run again due to term limits.

In Houston's style of government, the mayoral position is particularly powerful.

The mayor is the city's chief executive, managing more than 20,000 employees, overseeing a budget of nearly $6 billion, and setting the agenda for council meetings.

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