Last week, Senator John Whitmire addressed a crowd of supporters at a fundraiser for Representative Jessica Farrar.
“Jessica, I’m here because until today, I gotta be honest,” he admitted, “I didn’t know you had a challenger.”
Senator Whitmire is hardly the only one caught by surprise by not just the fact that this beloved state representative has a challenger, but that he is running in the primary, claiming to be a Democrat.
What can we say about Dave Wilson?
Plenty. And most of it isn’t very flattering.
Wilson currently serves on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees, an office he won by 26 votes. His campaign strategy? Mislead district residents into thinking he was their Black neighbor, and a Democrat.
Wilson touted an endorsement from “Ron Wilson.” Houstonians were meant to think that was the former state representative, who is African-American. The Ron Wilson who actually endorsed him?
His cousin in Iowa. The mailer even said so.
Well, at least, the mailer said that “Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins.” This does not actually clarify things.
Conservative blogger Big Jolly, who has jokingly—but maybe not so jokingly?—referred to Farrar’s challenger as Dave “Garcia” Wilson and Señor Wilson, outlines the dartboard approach Wilson took to selecting this race. He thought he might challenge apparently-not-rabid-enough-Republican Congressman Ted Poe, but then fixed his sights on Congressman Gene Green. When former sheriff Adrian Garcia filed against Green, however, Wilson dropped from the federal to the state level and opted to file against Farrar.
What else has Wilson done to earn his notoriety?
- Claimed to live in a warehouse to establish residency. And registered his adult children at the same address so they could vote for him. And somehow, this did not get any of them into trouble.
- Sent out inflammatory anti-LGBT mailers spouting outrageous lies, such as homosexuality leads to extinction.
- Collected petition signatures to trigger the repeal of the Equal Rights Ordinance.
- Spearheaded, in 2001, the defeat of a measure that would have allowed the City of Houston to offer benefits to same-sex domestic partners of employees.
- Switch party based on who he wants to challenge, not what he believes.
Dave Wilson’s values do not align with the voters of District 148, but given Wilson’s track record, it seems unlikely that voters will receive a fair representation of his values if he’s the one doing the talking.
And he’s talking. He is knocking on doors in the district, claiming to support core Democratic values. Well, somebody let me know when gay-bashing becomes a core Democratic value.
No mailers have gone out yet, but if he sticks to his normal game plan, expect a mailer assailing Farrar for her support of LGBT rights, women’s health, or some other flashpoint issue, like her early and public support of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. It would not surprise me to see scare tactics and phrases like “predators in bathrooms,” and to see them in the final days before the election so it is too late to counter them.
As we approach early voting season, spread the word to folks you know in District 148, which includes neighborhoods like the Heights, Lindale Park, parts of the Near North Side, Oak Forest, Shady Acres, and parts of Spring Branch.
Dave Wilson has proven to be an obstructionist and bigot who believes, like so many on the radical right, that all you have to do to govern is say no. He is not afraid to mislead voters.
Jessica Farrar’s experience and expertise are invaluable. She’s a fierce advocate for civil rights, healthcare, animals, schools, and more, but she also understands that governance means learning how to work together with people whose opinions she may not share. She understands that governance is about finding ways to say yes.
Jessica Farrar is the only responsible choice in the March primary. Let’s keep her in the Texas House.