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

Brooke Taylor Image
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announces she's running for Houston mayor
There had been speculation for months that the congresswoman would run for mayor, and she has finally entered a contest that's already well underway.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is joining the Houston mayoral race, scrambling the already crowded field.

"Sheila Jackson Lee wants to come home to be your mayor for the city of Houston," Jackson Lee said at a church event Sunday. "I will not be able to do it without each and every one of you."

Jackson Lee's comments were livestreamed by the church, City Cathedral Church, and shared Monday morning by Urban Reform, a Houston online publication.

Jackson Lee enters a mayoral contest that is already well underway. The early frontrunner has been state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, and his competitors include Chris Hollins, the former Harris County clerk; Robert Gallegos, a member of the Houston City Council; Gilbert Garcia, former chairman of the city's Metropolitan Transit Authority; and Amanda Edwards, a former City Council member.

There has been speculation for months that Jackson Lee could run for mayor.

Eyewitness News reached out to Jackson Lee's camp about the bid. In a statement, a representative revealed what led up to her decision.

"For some time, there has been much positive feedback in Houston about the prospects of Congresswoman Jackson Lee running for Mayor of Houston," the statement read. "Supporters of Sheila are pleased with the favorable responses of a broad representation of Houston's diverse communities. To that end, we express the Congresswoman's excitement about making a future formal announcement. Stay tuned, Houston will hear from Sheila!!"

The election is in November, and the seat is open because incumbent Sylvester Turner is term-limited. The office is nonpartisan, though Houston is solidly blue and the most of the prominent candidates all identify as Democrats.

Jackson Lee has been in Congress since 1995 and established herself as a Democratic icon in Houston. She would not have to give up her congressional seat to run for mayor.

Patrick Svitek of the Texas Tribune contributed to this story.

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