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DO WHITE CANDIDATES HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO TELL VOTERS THEY ARE…. UH… WHITE?
Does a candidate for public office have an obligation, a duty to inform the electorate that he is white? Or more specifically, that he is not black?
This became an issue in Houston, Texas, where two candidates were fighting it out for a seat on the community college board of trustees. One candidate was black, the other white.
The white man’s name is Dave Wilson. He won the election, and now he’s facing charges that he deceived, misled the electorate.
The basis of the charge is three fold: 1) he ran an ad with black women talking about what a great guy Dave Wilson is, “he’s one of us!”, 2) he said he was endorsed by Ron Wilson, a cousin, who happens to have the same name as a prominent black politician, and 3) in mailers sent to voters and on his website he failed to post pictures of himself.
In other words, he hinted he was black, and hid from the voters he was white.
Dave Wilson said he was merely trying to remove race from the campaign.
Instead of making the race about a black guy versus a white guy he made the race about the issues. And he won!
I don’t know if the voters actually thought he is black. I understand the district is heavily African American and the race could well have been black versus white if the voters had been fully informed, had he put his white face on every campaign ad, it might have made a difference in the outcome.
However, I find it very refreshing to see an election based on issues and not on racial solidarity. And I cheer Dave Wilson for proving it can be done.