Amanda Edwards leaves Houston mayor’s race to run for Sheila Jackson Lee’s seat in Congress

The former Houston city council member endorsed Jackson Lee for mayor at a Monday morning event.

Former Houston City Councilmember Amanda Edwards announcing her run for Congress in Houston's Fifth Ward, June 19, 2023
Andrew Schneider/Houston Public Media
Former Houston City Councilmember Amanda Edwards announcing her run for Congress in Houston’s Fifth Ward, June 19, 2023

Former Houston City Councilmember Amanda Edwards is dropping out of the mayor's race and running for Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee's seat in Texas' 18th Congressional District. Edwards also announced she's throwing her support in the mayor's race behind Jackson Lee.

Edwards said Monday she'd decided to pivot to a run for Jackson Lee's seat in Congress after much thought and prayer. She emphasized her own ties to the congresswoman, for whom she interned after college.

"It was a powerful and eye-opening experience that deepened my interest in public service and for which I will remain grateful," Edwards said.

The former city councilmember settled any doubts about where she stood on the remaining mayoral candidates.

"We are supporting Congresswoman Jackson Lee in her endeavor to serve as Houston's next mayor," Edwards said.

Edwards becomes the second major African-American candidate to pull out of the mayor's race since Jackson Lee entered the race in March. Former Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins left the mayor's race in April, switching to a run for Houston city controller. The two moves are likely to benefit Jackson Lee against the congresswoman's main competitor in the mayor's race, Democratic State Senator John Whitmire.

Jackson Lee has not formally announced her retirement from Congress, and Texas state law does not require her to step down from her congressional seat to run for mayor. Should she be unsuccessful in the mayoral contest, she would be eligible to run for reelection to Congress in 2024, setting up a fresh competition with Edwards.

Edwards previously served as Houston city council member for At-Large Position 4. She ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Senator John Cornyn in 2020.

Edwards defined the economic concerns as her main focus in running for Congress.

"We've got to make sure that we deal with meat and potatoes first," Edwards said. "And that is making sure families are secure, both by health care access – that's critical. Also, economic opportunity is critical. We also want to make sure that housing is front and center, given the gaps in the housing that we have here in Houston."