Sheila Jackson Lee Gets Blown Out in Race for Mayor

( – Houston has elected a new mayor — and in a blow to establishment Democrats, their candidate was crushed. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) has faced controversy over her treatment of staff. She was backed by Hillary Clinton and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), but those endorsements weren’t enough to rescue her campaign.

On December 9, the residents of Houston voted in a run-off election for the city’s mayor. The original election back in November had a crowded field of 18 candidates and produced no clear winner. The most popular choice was State Senator John Whitmire (D), who pulled in 43% of the vote, followed by Jackson Lee, who managed to get 36%. Those two went head to head in the run-off.

In the lead-up to the second vote Jackson Lee received endorsements from Clinton and Pelosi and also issued a desperate plea for votes, claiming democratic values “are on the line.” None of it was enough. When the run-off votes were counted it soon became clear that Jackson Lee hadn’t just lost; she’d been crushed. Whitmore romped home to a 64.4% landslide, while the establishment candidate got just 35.6%.

Jackson Lee could have suffered from leaked audio that showed her yelling abuse at campaign staffers, calling them “fat ass stupid idiots” and “stupid motherf**kers” who “serve no goddamn purpose.” Did that display of temper and lack of self-control turn voters off? It seems possible.

Meanwhile, enthusiasm for Whitmire’s victory was muted. One social media user called him “the lesser of two evils,” while another said despite being a Democrat “surely he’s better than Sheila Jackson Lee.” As for Lee, she’s now applied to run for re-election to her House seat — but she’s facing a Dem challenger for that, too.

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