As the elected leader of the most populous city in Texas, Houston’s next mayor will need to have a firm grasp of crucial facts and a team of trusted advisers. Based on a fundamental error in one of her recent campaign ads, it appears that Democratic candidate Sheila Jackson Lee has neither.
Lee, who currently represents Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives, will be on the ballot for a runoff election scheduled for Saturday. In a graphic prominently displayed in her own television ad, however, the election date was listed as Thursday.
Sheila Jackson Lee got the election day (which is actually Dec 9) wrong on her TV ad. Dec 5 is last day of early voting. Dec 7 is, well, not a day to vote. A perfect metaphor for Sheila Jackson Lee’s whole life: wrong. pic.twitter.com/HuduP98CkB
— Michael Berry (@MichaelBerrySho) December 2, 2023
She is facing state Sen. John Whitmire (D-TX) in the upcoming election after they came out on top among a crowded field of 16 candidates but neither secured a majority of the vote last month. The latest polling results show that Whitmire maintains an edge over Lee, meaning the congresswoman probably cannot afford to confuse her supporters regarding when they are supposed to vote.
While the flub sparked some social media mockery among her detractors, other critics are focused on the more substantial issues that could result if she is elected to serve as the mayor of Houston.
As a lawmaker, Lee has a record of making incendiary and controversial statements. Instead of embracing her status as a public servant, she has repeatedly indicated her belief that she should receive preferential treatment based on her perceived status.
“You don’t understand,” she said in 2014. “I am a queen and I demand to be treated like a queen.”
Earlier this year, a leaked audio clip purportedly revealed Lee unleashing an expletive-packed verbal attack on her own staff.
She released a statement addressing the controversy, but many Houstonians felt her ambiguous language left something to be desired.
“I want to convey to the people of Houston that I strongly believe that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and that includes my own staff,” she said. “I know that I am not perfect. I recognize that in my zeal to do everything possible to deliver for my constituents, I have in the past fallen short of my own standards and there is no excuse for that. I am passionate about serving my constituents. I want the best for all of them.”