Democratic Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee will run for mayor of Houston, she announced Sunday.
Jackson Lee, a 15-term congresswoman who represents large portions of the city, is the front-runner to replace Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is term-limited. She and fellow Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett have been the deans of Texas’ congressional delegation since Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson retired at the end of the 117th Congress.
“I hope I have been a humble servant for you for 28 years, many of you are in my district,” Jackson Lee told a crowd at City Cathedral Church, in a speech that was livestreamed on Facebook. “But Sheila Jackson Lee wants to come home to be your mayor for the city of Houston. And I will not be able to do it without each and every one of you. I will not be able to do it without each and every one of you.”
Jackson Lee is the eleventh representative, and the eighth Democrat, to decline to run for reelection in 2024. All except Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline and Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz are seeking other offices. (RELATED: Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin Announces Senate Run To Replace Long-Time Senator)
Jackson Lee’s office consistently has one of the highest staff turnover rates in Congress, and several outlets have reported on her abusive treatment of staff. One former staffer told the Daily Caller in 2011 that his doctor ordered him to quit the job, citing unhealthy levels of stress. The congresswoman has chalked up criticism of her management style to “discrimination, sexism and even racism.”
Six other candidates, all Democrats, have declared their candidacies for Houston mayor, according to the Houston Chronicle. The city has not elected a Republican mayor since 1979, when Jim McConn won reelection.