Democrat Loses Mayor Race, Aims For Congress Instead

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

That’s the adage that Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee is following after her bid for the mayoral seat in Houston went up in flames this week.

Just two days following her loss in a special election to become the next mayor of Houston, the 73-year-old Jackson Lee filed paperwork to run for re-election to the House.

And while she suffered a huge defeat at the hands of state Senator John Whitmire in the mayoral special election – garnering only 36% of the vote compared to Whitmire’s 64% – she still has a solid chance of winning back her seat in the House.

In addition to the fact that her district is solidly blue, she’s been serving her constituents in Congress for almost 30 years.

In a statement released on Monday, Jackson Lee said:

“I am compelled by the numerous opportunities still ahead to advance the lives of my constituents. I am fueled by the belief that experience is essential, yet I also recognize the significance of genuine commitment, steadfast dedication and a proven ability to deliver results.”

In most years, it would be all but guaranteed that Jackson Lee would win re-election. However, the race for her seat has been underway for quite some time now, and she was present for much of it, since she was focusing on her bid to become Houston’s mayor.

She has a pretty solid Democratic challenger in 41-year-old Amanda Edwards, who previously served as a city councilmember in Houston and once ran for the U.S. Senate. Edwards was considered to be the frontrunner to win the Democratic nomination before Jackson Lee decided to throw her hat in the ring.

Edwards announced she was running for the House seat back in June, and she’s done a great job fundraising in the time since. She’s raised more than $1 million in a little more than six months, which is more than Jackson Lee raised in every one of her election cycles, except for just one.

Election filing reports show that she ended the last fundraising quarter having more than $800,000 cash on hand to use for her campaign. Edwards said that even though Jackson Lee has entered the race, she’ll continue to campaign for the seat.

As she told Politico this week:

“We announced back in June of 2023 my candidacy for Congress, and immediately there was widespread excitement and support: grassroots, institutional and fundraising. People are ready for change.”

The amount of money Edwards’ campaign has to use could prove to be a problem for Jackson Lee in the race. As of the last fundraising quarter, Jackson Lee reported having a little more than $200,000 cash on hand in the coffers for her federal campaign.

According to her filings, her campaign for Houston mayor also had about the same amount of cash on hand. However, it’s against federal law to just move that money from her mayoral campaign over to her campaign for Congress.