Republican Dave Wilson, a white anti-gay activist who won a local election in an overwhelmingly Democratic and black district in Houston last week, denies he pretended to be black.
During his campaign for Houston Community College Board of Trustees, Wilson sent mailers with photos of African-Americans, encouraging voters to elect their "friend and neighbor Dave Wilson." Wilson on Monday said the mailer was "target marketing."
Wilson's narrowly defeated Democratic opponent, Bruce Austin, called it deceptive and "disgusting." "This is one of the few times a white guy has pretended to be black guy and fooled black people," Austin said.
Even Wilson said he had considered the race "a long shot" before he won.
In an interview with CNN on Monday, Wilson denied the deception charges, saying he didn't want race to be "a deciding factor" for voters.
"I didn't put my picture out there because I wanted to stick with the issues," Wilson said. "They know what I look like."
Wilson told CNN that he hadn't heard any complaints from voters about the mailers, and described himself as a vocal but "principled man."