In a spirited endorsement event, incumbent U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee secured the backing of the Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus for the upcoming primary election, as she faces a tough challenge from former Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards. The announcement of the endorsement was met with cheers and enthusiastic gestures from the audience.
Having recently faced defeat in the Houston mayoral race despite a prior caucus endorsement, Jackson Lee expressed gratitude for the LGBTQ+ community’s support and emphasized her commitment to fighting for their rights. She recalled her past advocacy against the denial of the right to marry and urged the audience to send her back to the United States government as a fearless advocate.
However, the event was not without controversy, with some caucus members engaging in a 30-minute discussion that delved into allegations surrounding an unverified voice recording of Jackson Lee using profanity towards a staffer during the campaign. Despite the heated exchanges, Jackson Lee received strong support from her backers.
A critical moment unfolded when an attendee recited quotes from the unverified audio recording, leading to impassioned reactions from the crowd. The speaker urged members to vote against Jackson Lee, emphasizing the importance of believing people when they reveal their true character.
Edwards, Jackson Lee’s challenger, highlighted her aspiration to bring innovative ideas to Congress, presenting a fresh perspective compared to Jackson Lee’s more than three decades in office.
The endorsement event took an unexpected turn during the process of endorsing Lizzie Fletcher in District 7, as protesters for Gaza disrupted the proceedings, expressing discontent with the nomination. The group, preferring to remain anonymous, criticized the caucus for endorsing candidates amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza and was subsequently forced out of the building.
Caucus Board of Trustees President Austin Davis Ruiz addressed the audience about a fake list of endorsement recommendations circulating, underscoring the need to maintain order during the event. The caucus ultimately endorsed several candidates, including former Harris County prosecutor Sear Teare, who will run against County District Attorney Kim Ogg for her third term.
The competition for Houston Mayor Whitmire’s former state senate seat was fierce, and after careful consideration, the caucus endorsed Molly Cook, an emergency room nurse who identifies as bisexual. Cook, who lost in the 2022 race to the incumbent Whitmire, was praised for her grassroots organizing efforts, including advocacy against the Interstate 45 expansion project.
The Houston mayoral seat, vacant for the first time since 1983, attracted seven Democratic candidates for the March primary. The special election to fill the vacancy is scheduled for May 4, with Molly Cook emerging as the caucus-endorsed candidate in this highly contested race.