Rep. Sheila Jackson Defeats Primary Challenger Despite Scandals

( – Democratic Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee fended off former Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards in the primary on Super Tuesday. She had a commanding lead over fellow Democrat Edwards in her bid for re-election to Congress despite having been unsuccessful in her run for mayor of Houston in 2023.

Edwards also ran for mayor but dropped out when Jackson Lee announced her candidacy.

Jackson Lee has been representing the state’s 18th Congressional District since 1995. She spent $225,000 on her re-election campaign by the end of the pre-primary reporting period compared to nearly $1.5 million raised by Edwards for her campaign. Despite this uphill struggle, Jackson Lee was leading by a significant margin, with only 41 percent of the votes coming in.

Democratic State Senator John Whitmire beat Jackson Lee in the mayoral election, reportedly with an almost 2-1 margin. The campaign focused heavily on public safety on the streets and highlighted the divided stances within the party on how best to tackle crime. Hillary Clinton spoke in favor of Jackson Lee at a rally, praising her grit and advocacy and saying it was what the people of Houston needed. Ultimately, Whitmire won with his tougher stance on crime. Jackson Lee’s campaign for mayor was also marred by the October release of an unverified audio recording of her using foul language and berating staff.

She said that she chose to run for re-election despite losing the mayoral election because she was still driven by the opportunities to enhance the lives of her constituents. While she was running for mayor, her former intern Isaiah Martin launched a bid for a congressional seat but soon suspended his campaign and endorsed her when she announced her candidacy. Another candidate, Robert Slater, dropped out in February 2024 and endorsed Jackson Lee, leaving Edwards as the veteran congresswoman’s only challenger.

Edwards is the most formidable challenge Jackson Lee has faced for 30 years since she was first elected. She has previously beaten challengers throughout her 14-term career by landslide margins. She has a visible presence in Houston and is known for attending her constituents’ graduations, funerals, and baby showers.

Copyright 2024,