Edwards drops out of Mayor’s race, to run for CD18

Another shakeup.

Amanda Edwards

Former Houston city council member Amanda Edwards announced Monday she would withdraw from the mayoral race to instead vie for the Texas congressional seat currently held by Sheila Jackson Lee, who previously announced her intention to run for Houston mayor.

Edwards, who previously ran for U.S. Senate, revealed her campaign pivot during a news conference in front of a mural in Fifth Ward. She shifted her sights toward the Texas 18th Congressional District — a position Jackson Lee has held for nearly three decades — and which covers areas including Acres Homes, Fifth Ward, East Houston, Highland Heights and the Bush Intercontinental Airport area.

“As Congresswoman Jackson Lee seeks to come home to serve as Houston’s next mayor, I seek to continue the strong legacy of servant leadership in the 18th congressional District,” Edwards said. “From Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, Congressman Mickey Leland, Congressman Craig Washington to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the people of the 18th Congressional District deserve the next leg of this relay to continue to be strong, bold, effective and focus on the people.”


Edwards said she has raised $1.3 million for the mayoral election but she will not be able to transfer the funds to her new campaign. She will communicate to her donors the option to get a refund for their prior donations or to put the dollars toward her new federal campaign war chest, she said.

I got an email on Friday afternoon teasing a “major announcement” from the campaign on Monday. Seemed pretty clear that it was going to involve Edwards exiting the race, and given that an endorsement of SJL seemed likely as well. If that happened, I figured Edwards would have her eyes on CD18, though I wasn’t sure if she’d formally jump into that race or wait to see how the Mayor’s race played out. I had speculated that someone might decide to get in without waiting to see if CD18 was open or not. I just hadn’t expected Amanda Edwards to be first in line for that. It’s a smart move – SJL might decide to step down even if she isn’t elected Mayor – and it perhaps puts Edwards in line for a reciprocal endorsement down the line. I’m still interested to see who may jump into this race, and at what point they make that decision.

Jeronimo Cortina, an associate professor of political science at the University of Houston, said the two candidates’ withdrawal from the election was to be expected given the stark difference in name recognition and resources between them and heavyweights such as Jackson Lee and Whitmire.

Meanwhile, Edwards’ shot at capturing the 18th Congressional District will hinge heavily on the mayoral race results, he said. Based on the current timeline, if Jackson Lee loses the mayoral election in a run-off against Whitmire, she still would have a brief window in which to enter the Congressional race before the filing deadline.

“Does Edwards have an opportunity to primary out Sheila Jackson Lee in a district that has solidly supported Jackson Lee for the past 30 years? Not very likely,” Cortina said. “Now, if Sheila Jackson Lee does win the mayoral election, then that Congressional race is going to be significantly crowded and a lot of people are going to start throwing their hats into the ring. And in this case, given that Edwards is announcing so early, that is going to give her an advantage that other people may not have.”

So now the race is approximately Whitemire/SJL, then Gilbert Garcia/Lee Kaplan/Robert Gallegos/MJ Khan, then the assorted no-names. And I don’t think we’re at the final form it will take yet. We’re still two months out from the filing deadline. Houston Landing has more.

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7 Responses to Edwards drops out of Mayor’s race, to run for CD18

  1. Manny says:

    Clearing out the field, SJL v ????

    If no credible Republican runs for mayor, it is clear that the Republican candidate will be Whitmire.

    A lot of Spanish-surnamed individuals running for mayor. Interesting, someone is behind that.

  2. Raj Salhotra says:

    The key question here seems what happens if SJL doesn’t win and wants to run for re-election? Maybe some pre-arranged agreement?

  3. Mainstream says:

    There is similar speculation that MJ Khan, who is seeking to secure a lane as the lone Republican, might be intended to fracture the vote for Whitmire, helping SJL.

  4. Burt Levine says:

    He is not.

  5. Manny says:

    Burt, who is not?

    Mainstream, Khan is not exactly a Republican household name.

    Will Khan be renting the same apartment to move into the city?

  6. Raj – As things stand, SJL would still be able to file for CD18 if she loses in a runoff. Edwards could withdraw in that situation, if she wanted to. What either of their actual plans might be are unknown, at least to me.

  7. joshua ben bullard says:

    Amanda filed second in district 18( to the first Democrat candidate that filed Jasmine Blue) because she finally realized what ive been telling anyone that will listen, the city runoff will take place on Saturday December 16th Not the 9th and the federal filing deadline for congress is December 13th and federal law does not allow a candidate to be a candidate in two different contest at the same time so yes if Lee Doesnt make a runoff then yes she could easily file for her congressional seat but if she makes the runoff in the mayors run she will not be able to legally file for congress while in the city runoff* This is why Amanda filed * kuffner did not credit jasmine blue as a candidate because he said she did not raise enough money- disclaimer 2 amanda edwards knows that kuffner failed to acknowledge jasmine blue over money and campaign dollars ,shameful on both kuffner and amanda edwards , if you ask me.

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