A white anti-gay activist won a local election after leading voters to believe he is African American.
Dave Wilson, who unsuccessfully ran for Houston mayor in 2011, narrowly won a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees after pretending to be black in his predominantly African American district, KHOU 11 News reported Friday.
According to KHOU, Wilson printed direct mail pieces strongly implying that he’s black. His fliers were decorated with photographs of smiling African-American faces — which he readily admits he just lifted off websites — and captioned with the words “Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson.”
One of his mailers said he was “Endorsed by Ron Wilson,” which longtime Houston voters might easily interpret as a statement of support from a former state representative of the same name who’s also African-American. Fine print beneath the headline says “Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins,” a reference to one of Wilson’s relatives living in Iowa.
Wilson, who had previously made a name for himself in Houston politics by sending out thousands of mailers attacking an openly gay mayoral candidate, defeated 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin by just 26 votes.
“I’d always said it was a long shot,” Wilson said.
Austin, Wilson’s opponent, called the tactic “disgusting,” and told the Houston Chronicle that he will seek a recount of the extremely close race.
“He never put out to voters that he was white,” Austin said. “The problem is his picture was not in the League of Voters [pamphlet] or anywhere. This is one of the few times a white guy has pretended to be black guy and fooled black people.”
Wilson, however, insists he won the race “fair and square” because voters disapproved of Austin and the HCC board’s actions.