Former Staffer of Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee Now in Fight to Take Her Seat in Office

by Xara Aziz
Left: Houston City Council/Right: Office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

A rising star in the Democratic fight to upend Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee has outraised the latter by more than 10-to-1 in the last quarter, according to Houston Public Media.

Campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission reveals that former Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards raised approximately $272,000 in just the last three months of 2023. Jackson Lee raised just above $23,000. She is currently campaigning to keep her 18th Congressional District seat.

“I think that our strong fundraising numbers reflect the energy that people have in the community towards investing in the change that they want to see,” Edwards told Houston Public Media. “Right now, I think a lot of people feel shut out by the dysfunction in Washington, and they are looking for new ideas, not just a fresh face, but new ideas, a new approach, new solutions to some of the lingering challenges that we face.”

At the end of last year, Edwards had raised around $856,000, much of which was raised during her campaign when she ran for mayor of Houston. She would later withdraw from the campaign to run for Jackson’ Lee’s congressional seat.

She said her objective is to convert her money into votes. “We’ll knock (on) doors,” Edwards said. “We’ll continue to make calls. We’ll also send out our mail. We will also, of course, be on television, radio, you name it.”

Michael Adams, the founding executive director of Texas Southern University’s Voter and Civic Engagement Institute, said it should come as no surprise that Jackson Lee has fallen short to raise campaign dollars.

“Going back to the last three congressional cycles, she’s never had formidable candidates that have forced her to go out and be a prolific fundraiser. And we also saw that when she ran for mayor, she didn’t, it paled by comparison with what Whitmire had,” Adams told the publication.

Jackson Lee’s unsuccessful attempt to become mayor exposed a vulnerability even within her primary supporter base. An examination of data finds that from the December runoff election highlights that Jackson Lee narrowly won the 18th Congressional District against then-State Senator (now Mayor) John Whitmire, securing only 51% of the vote compared to Whitmire’s 49%. Voter turnout in the district amounted to just 17% of registered voters.

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