November 11th, 2013
05:32 PM ET
12 months ago

Local Houston election winner denies race deception claims

(CNN) - The winner of a tight local election in a mostly African-American community in Houston on Monday denied assertions that he deceived voters into thinking he was black.

Dave Wilson, who is white, edged out 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin by 26 votes, 5,961-5,935 to become the District II representative for the Houston Community College System board of trustees, according to the local election board.

Austin, who is black, attacked his rival for mailings that included photos of African-Americans, but no pictures of Wilson.

Austin said he "was rather disgusted" with the campaign tactics that he argued weren't fair play, according to CNN affiliate KHOU.

KHOU also reports Austin plans to ask for a recount, although electronic voting means Wilson's win will likely stand.

In an interview with CNN, Wilson denied allegations over race.

"I didn't put my picture out there because I wanted to stick with the issues," Wilson said.

As for the assertion that he wanted voters to think he was black; "that's false."

"I did not want race to be the deciding factor," Wilson said.

Wilson also said he didn't think people voted for Austin because of his race, but because of his incumbent status.

That is part of why the campaign victory came as a surprise.

"Nobody was shocked more than me," Wilson told KHOU.

"I had always said it was a longshot. No I didn't expect to win."

Wilson doesn't think voters would believe he's black based on the campaign mailings.

"They know what I look like," he said in the CNN inteview, speaking of public appearances and a 2011 candidacy for mayor.

Wilson says he won because of the hundreds of doors he knocked on and overspending and rising tuition in the community college system.

"Not one voter has complained" about the mailings, Wilson said.

Wilson admits that some of the photos he used in the mailings were pulled from the Internet. Others, however, were of students at a nonprofit electrician's school he runs, Wilson said.

The reason for the African-American faces? Wilson said it was "target marketing" for the community.

Despite some depictions of being a "political mischief maker," Wilson, instead, described himself as a "principled man" who is unafraid to speak out.


Filed under: Texas
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Borderless

    What difference does skin color make?

    November 11, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Borderless

    Should a candidate inform us of their race and should we use that information to help make a decision? Anyone who thinks it is deception to no know a person's race before deciding to vote for them is racist by definition.

    November 11, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Larry in Houston

    Yep, saw that – – – well, all I can say about that is , maybe Mr. Austin should have had Sheila Jackson Lee on His Side....Just like 'ol Cruz had Palin & hucklebee in the same town, promoting Cruz, on Billboards, TV . newspapers / radio stations & the like....That how he got elected.......

    Why didn't Mr. Austin bring in the big kahuna, on his side ??

    November 11, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. Anthony in California

    @Borderless
    What difference does skin color make?

    I dont know.. lets ask the TeaPublicans and the southern red states about skin color and see if it makes a difference.

    *derp*

    November 11, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. xavier

    If skin color wasn't the issue then why were all the images on his material of black people. Texas sucks!

    November 11, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. Piercing the Veil

    The real irony is that people are angry because their racial biases have been revealed. The only people experiencing anger are those who must now admit that they vote based upon skin tone rather than political rationale.

    November 11, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Tigas

    Why are they voting on the basis of race instead of positions on issues, experience, or ability to do the job?

    November 11, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. ladies first

    i think people create anomasity because they need to get attention not recieved when they were a kid

    November 11, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  9. Jack

    Karl rove and roger ailes must have been behind that sleazy idea.

    November 11, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. uncdig

    where is the complaint and problem. Voters voted based on issues, not race. To do otherwise would be racist.

    November 11, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. CMI

    This is disgusting. He is neither Black nor white and neither was his opponent. There are no races except those that exist in our imagination. If someone voted for him because he misled them about his complexion then that person deserved to be misled.

    November 11, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. Woman In California

    This sounds like a case where the voters were not paying attention and didn't do adequate research on the candidate (Wilson) IMO. Austin should just walk away from this because obviously, the people were not satisfied with his performance and were seeking a change. Move on and let the people decide if they made a good choice or not.

    November 11, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    No surprise here, another Republican dirty trick.

    November 11, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. dd

    Shame on the voters if they are saying that after the fact. Also, are they saying people wouldn't vote for him if he was white? That's racism...

    November 11, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  15. Colorblind

    Why the crying? He never said he was white, what's it matter if the people actually voted on the issues and not the race

    November 11, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  16. Colorblind

    Whys it such a big deal? I mean come on, did dude think he was going to win just because of his skin color?

    November 11, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Welcome to Texas !

    November 11, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  18. Jim

    As a mailman I see a lot of campaign literature. No one complains about pictures of soccer moms on literature sent to soccer moms, or pictures of old people on campaign literature sent to senior citizens or pictures of guys in hardhats sent to Union workers. All of which are typical. Unless Mr. Wilson put a picture of President Obama on the cover with the caption, "This is Dave Wilson", this is a non-story.

    November 11, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  19. MC

    What a corrupt coward – but then again it is Texas.

    November 12, 2013 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    "Wilson says he won because of the hundreds of doors he knocked on and overspending and rising tuition in the community college system."
    -----------------
    You have to wonder. When he knocked on doors did he identify himself, or did he simply urge people to "Vote for Wilson"?

    November 12, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Borderless

    Should a candidate inform us of their race and should we use that information to help make a decision? Anyone who thinks it is deception to no know a person's race before deciding to vote for them is racist by definition.
    --------------------–
    The least a candidate for public office can do is show his face. People have a right to know whether or not the person they could be voting for is reputable, or a sloven drunk. Wilson claims showing his face in 2011 mayoral primary was enough.

    November 12, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |