Challenges Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee will face for 2018 re-election

HOUSTON – U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee kicked off her 2018 re-election bid Monday morning with a prayer breakfast led by 200 Houston pastors.

For only the second time in her congressional campaign career, Jackson Lee faces an opponent in the Democratic primary in March. 

Here's what you need to know about the Democratic primary for the 18th Congressional District.

1. Congresswoman Jackson Lee is running for her 13th term representing the 18th Congressional District.

"I think the people I represent understand the importance of my seniority but also my can-do attitude, getting results," she said.

2. Her Democratic primary opponent is Dr. Richard Johnson. Johnson is a longtime educator and political staffer who works for two Houston City Council members and a state representative. Johnson said his platform is focused on education reform and jobs. 

"I believe that the time is right and the people need a change," Johnson said.

3. Political analysts say Johnson faces an uphill battle against a strong incumbent.

"Sheila Jackson Lee is an icon. While she does have her detractors, her supporters outnumber her detractors and she's a hard campaigner," said Mark Jones, a professor at Rice University.

"Certainly Dr. Johnson is a credible challenger. I just think that, this election, it's probably too early for him and he's going up against someone who's very, very difficult to defeat," Jones said.

4. Early voting for the primary begins Feb. 20. The primary election is March 6. 

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