The bit about the endorsement by his cousin who had the same name as a noted state representative was inspired politics.I recall years ago a candidate running for Congress who plastered pictures of military action all over his mailers when he never served. But even though he never overtly claimed to be black, he definitely tried to mislead voters into thinking he was. Forget the racial angle, misleading voters for any reason, under any circumstances is wrong. Not racist — just wrong.

As the article points out, the mailers may not have been the deciding factor in the race:

Just how much a role Wilson’s mailers played in the campaign is unclear. Other incumbents running for re-election were forced into runoffs, perhaps because the community college system has come under intense criticism for insider business deals and spending money on overseas initiatives. And after 24 years in office, Austin’s name should have been somewhat familiar to his constituents.

“I suspect it’s more than just race,” says Bob Stein, the Rice University political scientist and KHOU analyst. “The Houston Community College was under some criticism for bad performance. And others on the board also had very serious challenges.”

Still, in such a close election — a 26 vote margin — you can assume that the mailers influenced at least a handful of low-information voters. While it may have been enough to put him over the top, it’s a good bet he won’t be able to get away with it again if he decides to run for re-election.