HOUSTON – Bruce Austin, a longtime member of the Houston Community College Board of Trustees, said he lost the recent November election because of deception on the part of his opponent.
Small business owner Dave Wilson beat Austin by 26 votes. Wilson received 50.1 percent of the vote for the HCC District 2 race. Austin, a 24-year incumbent, received 49.9 percent.
District 2 is a predominantly African-American Democratic area that covers parts of North and Northeast Houston. Austin believes Wilson was able to get so many votes because he deliberately deceived voters into thinking he was Black.
Wilson, a White Republican, did not have his picture on his website or campaign materials. His direct mail pieces featured only African-Americans and one mailer advertised he had the support of Ron Wilson, the same name of a former Houston African-American state representative. In the fine print it stated that “Ron Wilson is Dave Wilson’s cousin.”
“We learn in a democracy it depends on honesty and transparency so that voters can make an informed decision,” Austin said. “In the case of Wilson, fraud undermined the integrity of our political system.
“If you look at the problem, he plotted from the very beginning to deceive voters. He sent out pieces that had lies and misinformation in them. This is the relationship he has established with the constituents of District 2.”
Wilson could not be reached for comment. However, he told KHOU-TV that he was surprised by the victory.
“I’d always said it was a long shot,” he said. “No, I didn’t expect to win.”
When asked about his cousin’s endorsement, he said, “He’s a nice cousin. We played baseball in high school together. And he’s endorsed me.”
Wilson said on his website he is “uniquely qualified” to be on the HCC board because of his business background and his commitment to education. He also said he is committed to keeping “our” money for “our” children.
Austin encourages voters to pay attention to who is running during elections and their campaign platforms. He said he will request a recount after the narrow loss.
“I haven’t finished the election,” Austin said. “There are things that are yet to be done in terms of checking the process. I don’t know what the future holds but I hope for the best. What I’m doing is what I can to make sure justice is served.”
By Cierra Duncan
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Defender