A white, anti-gay Republican candidate for public office stunned many in Houston last week when he defeated his African-American rival in a heavily African-American district. But none were more stunned than the voters themselves, who believed they were voting for a black man.
According to local CBS affiliate KHOU, Dave Wilson beat 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin in the race for a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees by leading voters "to think he's black."
Wilson's tactics included sending out campaign material with photos of "smiling African-American faces" which he randomly found online.
The mailers were captioned with the words "Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson."
Another piece of direct mail had the words "Endorsed by Ron Wilson" on it, which KHOU points out could be misconstrued by voters to mean that Wilson was endorsed by former state representative Ron Wilson — an African-American.
But in the mailer's fine print Wilson noted that "Ron Wilson" was his cousin.
According to Austin, Wilson made sure his own photo was not readily available to voters to as to ensure the success of his ruse.
Ultimately, Wilson went on to win the race by a margin of 26 votes, which KHOU says "was almost certainly influenced by his racially tinged campaign."
"I don't think it's good," Austin is quoted as saying. "I don't think it's good for both democracy and the whole concept of fair play. But that was not his intent, apparently."
Austin plans to seek a recount, which experts believe will not change the outcome of the election.
[screengrab via KHOU]