White Republican wins election by convincing African-American Democrats he's black

"I'd always said it was a long shot," Dave Wilson said. "No, I didn't expect to win."
By Evan Bleier  |  Nov. 11, 2013 at 11:49 AM
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(UPI) -- After getting fed up with "all the shenanigans" in the Houston Community College system, conservative white Republican Dave Wilson came up with an unorthodox political strategy to get voters in his mostly African-American and Democratic district to cast a vote his way -- pretending to be black.

"I'd always said it was a long shot," Wilson said. "No, I didn't expect to win." But he did.

Wilson, an anti-gay activist and former mayoral candidate, defeated 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin by only 26 votes for a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees, thanks in large part to advertising strategy that his opponent found "disgusting."

To carry out his ruse, Wilson printed fliers that were covered with photos of smiling African-American faces that he found on the Internet. The pictures were captioned with the words "Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson."

He also sent out a mailer saying he was "Endorsed by Ron Wilson," a reference to an African-American state representative of the same name.

But those who looked at the fine print would have seen that "Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins," and that Ron lives in Iowa -- and he is not the former state representative of the same name.

"He's a nice cousin," Wilson said. "We played baseball in high school together. And he's endorsed me."

Austin sent out a flier of his own showing Wilson’s face, referring to him as a "right-wing hate monger" and informing voters he "advocated bringing back chain gangs to clean highways." It apparently wasn’t enough.

"I don't think it's good," Austin said. "I don't think it's good for both democracy and the whole concept of fair play. But that was not his intent, apparently."

If Wilson's victory holds up -- Austin plans to ask for a recount -- he will be in office for a six-year term.

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