Wilson to run as Democrat against Eversole

January 6, 2010 5:32:40 PM PST
A conservative anti-gay Republican is now on the ballot as a Democrat. The Democratic party says the candidate tricked them by sending in someone else to file for him. Dave Wilson is running for Harris County Precinct 4 commissioner, the seat held by Jerry Eversole, who is currently under investigation by the FBI, following a 13 Undercover investigation

When County Commissioner Jerry Eversole decided to run for re-election, it caught many Republicans by surprise considering the potential outcome of the ongoing investigation is uncertain. Still, most expected him to cruise to an easy victory, but a controversial candidate is hoping to change that.

Harris County Democratic Chairman Gerry Birnberg still can't believe Dave Wilson's name is now on the Democratic ballot for Precinct 4. The man seen in this photo filed to run just minutes before Monday's filing deadline.

"Comes right here where we are, takes a picture, turns to me with a big smile and handshake, turning in his application. Turns out he wasn't Mr. Wilson at all," said Birnberg.

The man was actually Abner Fletcher, treasurer for the real Dave Wilson, who hasn't voted in a Democratic primary since the 1970s.

When we asked Wilson about the fact that he's not a Democrat, Wilson replied, "I'm not a Republican either. I have in the past voted Republican. Over the last 10 years, the Republican party has disappointed me."

Wilson's most recent controversial act was mailing out flyers against then mayoral candidate Annise Parker because of her sexual orientation. Now Harris County Republicans, who are trying to keep Commissioner Eversole in his seat, are also angry.

"We had nothing to do with it. Dave Wilson is his own man. He'll do what he wants to do. The last thing we want is to recruit people to run as Democrats," said Harris County Republican Chairman Jared Woodfill.

Others disagree though.

"I think his plan was to file just in case Jerry Eversole was hit by a bus, really that's what his intentions were," said Court Koennig, an Eversole supporter.

Both Democrats and Republicans admit that Wilson didn't do anything illegal and his name will stay on the ballot. Even though he's a candidate neither party wants, Wilson says he just want to give voters an alternative to Eversole.

"My intent is to win and rid that district of some corruption," said Wilson.

Birnberg says he tried to find a Democrat to run against Eversole. However, because the district generally voted 70 percent Republican, he couldn't convince a well-known Democrat to jump in the race. Birnberg now says they would have put a candidate in had they known Wilson was going to file.

We have an update from 13 Undercover. The FBI investigation of Commissioner Eversole is ongoing and focuses on potentially illegal gifts from indicted developer Michael Surface and other county contractors.

The embattled commissioner said last fall he expected to be indicted. Last year, Eversole was slapped with the largest state ethics fine ever for alleged misuse of his campaign funds. That investigation was sparked by a series of 13 Undercover reports detailing Eversole's questionable work habits, the design of his Heights home, and alleged personal use of campaign donations. We'll continue to keep you updated.