Breitbart reported this week that Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee may run for mayor of Houston. Such a move may worry the White House, as her absence would further shrink Congress’ Democratic minority.
The website pointed to an article written by Semafor contributor Kadia Goba, who made the announcement after speaking with a trio of sources close to Lee.
Former staffer says Lee is “seriously considering” move
Trey Daniels previously served as the congresswoman’s district staffer, and he reportedly told Goba that Lee was “seriously considering” making a municipal run.
“Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has never faltered on her commitment to the 18th Congressional district nor to Houstonians,” Daniels was quoted as saying.
While Goba described the Houston mayoral race as already being “crowded,” she noted how Lee enjoys significant name recognition due to the congresswoman having spent nearly three decades in Washington.
According to her official website, Lee serves on a number of House committees, including the Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security Committee, and Budget Committee.
Lee accused of targeting former staff member
Buzz around the possibility that Lee may seek local office grew last month after journalist and podcast host Scott Braddock pointed out that her name was included in a poll on potential candidates.
Houston: It appears one of the campaigns is polling how Congresssoman @JacksonLeeTX18 would fare in H-Town’s mayoral race. Of particular interest to the pollsters: How she’d do against Sen @whitmire_john #txlege pic.twitter.com/qzCaGNSQoi
— Scott Braddock (@scottbraddock) February 5, 2023
However, Lee’s name also has been tied to scandal in recent years. In 2019, The New York Times reported that she was accused in a lawsuit of misconduct.
The suit alleged that Lee fired an unnamed former female staffer for threatening to expose an aide at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) who she said had sexually assaulted her.
Congresswoman has a history of gaffes
While Lee subsequently stepped down from her role as CBCF chairwoman, the lawsuit would be dismissed by a judge the following year.
Lee has also been known for making gaffes, such as in 2014 when she claimed that the United States Constitution is 400 years old. What’s more, she asserted on the House floor in 2010 that South Vietnam still exists.
Goba noted that Lee would not be the first congressional Democrat to resign her seat to run in local politics, as former California Rep. Karen Bass and former Illinois Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia have both done the same.
Although Lee’s seat would almost certainly be filled by another Democrat, her departure would leave the Democratic House Caucus with 212 members to the Republicans’ 222.