November 11, 2013 12:54 pm -

Dave-Wilson-Pretend you’re a white, conservative Republican and anti-gay bigot with a history of waging fringe campaigns who decides you’d like to win a seat on the College Board of Trustees in a district where voters are overwhelmingly black Democrats. How can you possibly win? Republican Dave Wilson of Houston found a way: just make voters think  you’re black!

Wilson’s campaign never put out fliers with his own face, but rather with images of African American men he grabbed from the internet. Asking voters to “Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson,” these pieces also cited his endorsement by Ron Wilson (implying that this was the respected long-time African American former Texas State Representative.) In fact, Rep. Wilson did not endorse Dave Wilson. Dave just happens to have a cousin named Ron. In Iowa.

And — hoo boy! — Dave just thinks the whole thing is hilarious.

Dave Wilson chuckles as he talks about his unorthodox political campaign.

“I’d always said it was a long shot,” Wilson says. “No, I didn’t expect to win.”

As a conservative white Republican running in a district whose voters are overwhelmingly black Democrats, the odds seemed overwhelmingly against him. Then he came up with an idea, an advertising strategy that his opponent found “disgusting.” If a white guy didn’t have a chance in a mostly African-American district, Wilson would lead voters to think he’s black…

Wilson, a gleeful political troublemaker, 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.

“He’s a nice cousin,” Wilson says, suppressing a laugh. “We played baseball in high school together. And he’s endorsed me.”

Yep. That sure is a hoot! But the best part is Mr. Wilson’s defense of his actions: “Every time a politician talks, he’s out there deceiving voters,” he says. Why, oh why, do these people run for offices they so implicitly disrespect? Assuming the recount maintains his slim 26-vote victory, the can look forward to 6 long years of Community College Trustee Dave Wilson lying to them.

Sandi Behrns