A white Texas man won a political campaign Tuesday in a heavily black area using an unconventional tactic — according to a local media outlet, he pretended to be black.
Dave Wilson was tired of “all the shenanigans” plaguing the Houston Community College System and decided to run for office, KHOU-TV reported Friday.
However, Wilson reportedly thought the odds of a white conservative Republican winning in an overwhelmingly black Democratic district were low, so he turned to a tactic his opponent said was “disgusting.”
“I’d always said it was a long shot,” Wilson said. “No, I didn’t expect to win.”
According to KHOU-TV, Wilson’s campaign “printed direct mail pieces strongly implying that he’s black.” The materials reportedly featured his campaign slogan emblazoned next to the faces of smiling black individuals.
Listen to one of Wilson’s radio ads:
One of his mailers even said, “Endorsed by Ron Wilson,” implying he had attained support from a famous former black state representative. In fact, in fine print below the endorsement, the campaign clarified that “Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins.”
“He’s a nice cousin,” Wilson told KHOU-TV. “We played baseball in high school together. And he’s endorsed me.”
The tactics apparently worked, guiding Wilson to victory by a thin margin of 26 votes. Now, his former opponent is speaking out.
“I don’t think it’s good,” Bruce 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.”
This post has been updated.
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