Houston mayoral candidates Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and state Senator John Whitmire led in a packed race against 16 others. But they were unable to surpass the 50% threshold required to avoid a runoff.
Whitmire came out ahead with 42.51% of the votes with Jackson Lee not too far behind at 35.63%. The two will face off in a runoff election, which is scheduled for December 9.
“None of the other candidates came close to the high-profile officials. Gilbert Garcia, the former chair of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County had the third-most votes but never cracked double digits,” the Texas Tribune reports.
After the results were tallied Tuesday night, Whitmire told his supporters. “I’m so pumped, I’m so excited for you and for Houston, I wish that I could go to work in the morning…Let’s leave here fired up, I’m fired up — I need you fired up.”
Jackson Lee also delivered remarks to her supporters. “I started this journey around the issue of people — making sure that whatever I said was to make Houston a livable city, and to make Houston a city that responded to the needs of families and our children,” she stated.
“I hope that however the outcome is, it will reflect the people bought into a positive agenda that will take this city into the future and that future will be something for everyone,” Jackson Lee continued.
Even though Jackson Lee has served the region as a U.S. Representative since 1995, she is no stranger to local government, having been a former member of the Houston City Council.
If elected, Jackson Lee would become the first Black woman mayor for the fourth-largest city in America.
And she’s just received the endorsement of outgoing Houston mayor Sylvester Turner. “There’s no doubt in my mind that a vote for Sheila Jackson Lee is not just a vote for the person but a vote for the City of Houston.”
“So come Dec. 9, I shall gladly go to the polling location, step in and cast my ballot for Sheila Jackson Lee. And I hope Houstonians of all persuasions will do the same. You cannot sit on the sideline in this election. The runoff signifies a new start,” Turner stated during a press conference.
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