Democratic state senator John Whitmire defeated Democratic U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee in the much-awaited Houston mayoral race on Saturday night, according to the Associated Press.
Whitmire was leading decisively as of Saturday night, 65.27% to 34.73%.
A Jackson Lee advertisement urged Houstonians to “vote on or before December 7th” as the city approached the final week before the mayoral runoff. One issue existed: early voting ended on December 5 and the runoff election was scheduled for Saturday.
John Whitmire takes over a city beset by many issues, such as crime, deteriorating infrastructure, and possible financial deficits. Nevertheless, despite these problems, the country’s fourth-largest city has experienced explosive growth over the past ten years, transforming it into a growing Texas Democratic stronghold.
Both Democratic candidates, Jackson Lee and Whitmire, advanced to the runoff on Saturday after easily defeating a dense field of almost twenty rivals in the general election on November 7.
The runoff elections on Saturday feature eighteen candidates running for mayor, controller, and City Council of Houston. The turnout is predicted to be lower than that of the general election held last month.
In addition, there will be runoff elections for seven of the sixteen City Council seats, with attorney Chris Hollins and previous Harris County treasurer Orlando Sanchez competing for the position of controller.
John Whitmire relied on a coalition of conservative, independent, and moderate Democratic voters, having made a major campaign pledge to increase city policing and make the city safer.
Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US with a population of over 2.3 million, has nonpartisan municipal elections, although Democrats have controlled the position since 1982.
As of late Saturday night, Whitmire, who has served in public office for more than 50 years, was leading Jackson Lee, a 30-year veteran of Congress, in the polls. In the general election on November 7, which featured 17 candidates and one write-in, the two came in first and second respectively in the vote total.
John Whitmire secured 43% of the vote, while Jackson Lee secured 36%, 73. The Associated Press reports that 21% of the 1.2 million registered voters in Houston cast ballots in the election on November 7. Sylvester Turner, the mayor at the moment, has a finite term.
Representing Houston in Congress since 1995 is 73-year-old Jackson Lee. She was a member of the Houston City Council before that.
During her campaign, Jackson highlighted her years of experience in securing federal funding for education, job training, and flood relief in Houston.
Jackson Lee stated that she wanted everyone to believe in her as soon as she got going. She continued by saying that she would have programs, answers, and solutions soon.
What Competition Shows Between John Whitmire And Jackson Lee?
The Democratic Party’s internal divisions over local crime policies are made clear by the contest between Whitmire and Jackson Lee. These divisions have also been evident in recent mayoral contests in New York City and Los Angeles. The perception as well as the actual rate of crime have truly grown to be serious concerns.
John Whitmire previously stated to POLITICO that Houston could not be seen as a dangerous city. He went on to say that he was speaking for Houstonians.
A rare matchup between two tenured legislators from a party that has struggled politically in deeply red Texas was also highlighted by this race. In their respective cities of Austin and Washington, Whitmire, as well as Jackson Lee, are well-known Texas icons.