John Whitmire defeats Sheila Jackson Lee in runoff as Houston's mayor

 December 10, 2023

Texas state Sen. John Whitmire (D) defeated Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in a runoff election Saturday to become Houston's next mayor.

The city's two leading Democratic candidates faced the special election after a close battle in the prior election.

Whitmire's plans

"His campaign focused on reducing crime, improving streets and reaching across the political aisle," Fox News reported.

"It's going to be a tough job. It's going to be challenging, but I'm going to reach out and bring people together, and we're going to fix our infrastructure," Whitmire said.

The fallout

"Whitmire, endorsed by the local police union, significantly outspent Jackson Lee in the runoff election to lead America’s fourth most populous city. He vowed to fight crime and make the violence-wary city safer," Just the News reported.

"Jackson Lee lost despite endorsements from liberal luminaries like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi and was hurt by a controversy over a leaked tape showing her berating a staffer," it continued.

The previous mayor

"Whitmire will replace current mayor Sylvester Turner due to term limits. Turner has been serving as mayor of Houston since he was elected in 2015 after defeating Bill King in a runoff election," Fox 26 reported.

"He was re-elected again in 2019 after defeating Houston-based attorney Tony Buzbee," it noted.

Lee, 73, has long been supported by Democrats in Washington as a top leftist in Texas. The defeat still left the role in the hands of a Democrat in Houston but Whitmire is considered far more moderate than his opponent.

The runoff shows that some parts of Texas continue to support Democrats despite the state's overall conservative majority.

Whitmire will now face demands for quick results, especially in helping with reducing crime and addressing the impact of the border crisis in the city. The move also makes him the mayor of one of the nation's largest cities in another win for the left of the massive urban area and one of America's fastest-growing cities.

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