Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the longtime Democratic Texas congresswoman running to become the next mayor of Houston, has been in the news apologizing for her words while defending herself against what she claims are political attacks against her campaign.

The recent controversy concerning Jackson Lee began on Oct. 20 when an anonymous source leaked an unverified audio clip recording to news outlets of the congresswoman criticizing and cursing out staff members. In the clip, the woman, said to be Jackson Lee, tells the unnamed staffer, “I want you to have a (expletive) brain. I want you to have read it. I want you to say,’ Congresswoman, it was such and such date.” She criticizes the man and a second staffer she calls a “fat ass stupid idiot” in the expletive-laden clip. She also calls them “two goddamn big ass children, (expletive) idiots who serve no goddamn purpose.”

On Monday, Jackson Lee did not directly admit to being the person on the tape. Still, she released an apologetic statement saying, “Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and that includes my own staff.” She said in the statement, “I know that I am not perfect” and recognized that “I have in the past fallen short of my own standards and there is no excuse for that.” She also characterized the leaked audio as “something trotted out by a political opponent,” implying that her opponent in the mayoral race, Democratic State Sen. John Whitmire, was responsible for the leak. Whitmire’s campaign has denied any involvement.

The coverage of Jackson Lee cursing out her staff has overshadowed another, more frightening story. On Monday morning, the first day of early voting in the mayoral election, police were summoned to one of Jackson Lee’s campaign offices to respond to an alleged assault. Gerald Womack, the chair of Jackson Lee’s campaign, reported a right-wing blogger who had been critical of her campaign assaulted him. According to the report, the man showed up at the campaign office, punched Womack after an argument and briefly fought with him before the assailant left the scene. Womack told police that the man had been harassing him for months. Police observed a bump on Womack’s head, attributed to him falling after being punched, and they spoke to the suspect, who has, through his lawyer, claimed to be the victim in the incident. So far, authorities have not filed charges in the case, but the Jackson Lee campaign has stepped up security.

How these incidents will impact the ongoing mayoral election remains to be seen. The leaked audio controversy led to the Harris County Young Democrats withdrawing their endorsement of Jackson Lee after having previously endorsed both her and Whitmire. However, Rep. Jackson Lee does not appear to have lost the backing of her more prominent supporters, who include former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Clinton is scheduled to appear at a rally for Jackson Lee on Friday along with Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

Jackson Lee and Whitmire are the two major candidates in the mayoral race, but we’ll have to wait until voting ends to see how the recent drama may have impacted their shots at leading the city of Houston. The two candidates clashed again this week when Jackson Lee claimed the endorsement of former Mayor Lee Brown, who in turn denied that he had backed away from his earlier endorsement of Whitmire; Jackson Lee’s campaign has stood by its assertion that Brown gave a joint endorsement in a recent phone call with the congresswoman earlier this month.

Early voting for the next mayor of Houston continues through Nov. 3, followed by regular voting on Election Day, Nov. 7.