Dave Wilson said he was shocked when he was recently elected as a member of the Houston Community College System Board of Trustees, ousting a 24-year incumbent.
Why? Well, the white Republican ran in a district whose voters are overwhelmingly black Democrats, and the odds seemed overwhelmingly against him, MSNBC reports. But he reportedly won by leading voters to think he was black, according to reports.
“I’d always said it was a long shot,” he told KHOU reporter Doug Miller. “No, I didn’t expect to win.”
Indeed, he won by a hair, only 26 votes. How did he do it? He reportedly mailed campaign fliers to community members that used stock photos of African Americans with messages like, “Please vote for our friend and neighbor, Dave Wilson,” reports show.
He even gloated about an endorsement from Ron Wilson. Voters may have assumed he meant former state Rep. Ron Wilson, who helped create the Texas Human Rights Commission, debated Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and led the fight to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a recognized holiday in the state, KHOU reports. But the actual Ron Wilson is a cousin with the same name, who lives in Iowa.
In another mailer, Wilson connected his opponent, incumbent Bruce Austin, to Houston’s openly lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, pointing out that they both supported “sodomy,” “marriage between a man and a man” and “that a man can use a woman’s bathroom,” reports show.
Austin tried to rebut the mailer with his own fliers showing images of Wilson, calling him a "right-wing hate monger" and saying he "advocated bringing back chain gangs to clean highways," reports show. But he was clearly caught off guard.