Aaron Harris has upset a lot of people in Texas’ political circles. And that’s precisely why grassroots activists from across the state consider him a friend.
Harris doesn’t ask for permission. He’s brash, bold – and often times – abrasive. But most importantly, he’s effective.
“I empathize with a lot of people who feel their voice doesn’t matter anymore. But I disagree. We need to get more engaged in state and local issues, and stop complaining about things in Washington D.C. that we simply cannot control.”
Harris believes citizens can affect the greatest change locally because they are bigger fish in a smaller pond. Local officials are within reach, are far more sensitive to criticism, and easier to defeat in elections.
He says Texas is plagued with the same problem found everywhere else — too many elected officials are afraid to upset their colleagues by disagreeing in public or by going against the grain — and encourages people to run for office. But there’s much more Texans can to do than simply run as a candidate.
“People can help a cause by setting up meet and greets, by block walking for a campaign, or by driving the candidate door to door. They can make phone calls, organize email lists, or donate. Many state and local campaigns need volunteers just as much as they need money. It may not be glamorous or make you famous, but it sure is effective. And I think being effective is what’s motivating…seeing your efforts making a real difference—that’s what keeps people going.”
Harris began his journey as a grassroots activist, and through different causes, learned the ins-and-outs of campaigns. He’s lost a lot of battles, but he says that “just goes with the territory.” He was successful in one big fight as a volunteer, when he organized a few other activists to defeat a local school bond he called “excessive.”
Harris says it’s unfortunate so few Texans vote in local races – but it’s a “blessing in disguise.” Because so few people vote, each vote has a greater impact on the outcome of the election. Eventually, Harris was hired in 2014 to run the re-election campaign for State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford).
Harris now runs Direct Action Texas (DAT), a private organization that’s lent a hand to local campaigns across North Texas, as well as state-level races. In 2016, DAT helped three candidates defeat incumbents in the City of Colleyville – including the Mayor – winning 60 percent of the vote in each race with remarkable turnout.
“I really wish Texans would realize how much power they have, and would use it. I’m no smarter than anyone else out there. I just found a niche, started digging, and the winding path I took eventually led me to uncover the largest voter fraud case in Texas State history, among other fascinating things. The simple fact is this—we need more concerned citizens to grab a shovel.”
The alleged voter fraud Harris uncovered has led to an ongoing criminal investigation by the Attorney General’s office. Harris says he submitted over 1,500 documents (including audio files) with his complaint to the Secretary of State, who referred to the evidence as “voluminous.” Their letter to the AG outlined allegations that at least five separate crimes had been committed.
In a presentation in Fort Worth, Harris publicly presented specific pieces of evidence included in his complaint. He claims at least two sitting public officials won their races illegitimately—Fort Worth’s Mayor Pro Tem, Sal Espino, and State Rep. Ramon Romero Jr. (D-Fort Worth).
Although Harris says he cannot release all of the evidence contained in his complaint – due to the AG’s ongoing criminal investigation – he says hundreds of forms with forged signatures were faxed into the Tarrant County Election’s office from Espino’s private office, implicating his involvement in the alleged criminal enterprise. Harris says other longtime residents call it the “Fort Worth Way.”
Harris and his staff also helped uncover voting irregularities in Hill County’s primary results in 2016. The County Election’s office could not produce documentation to substantiate their own election results. The massive discrepancy showed more votes than actual voters—nearly 1,800 in total. This shocking revelation also led to an ongoing investigation by the Attorney General’s office, which recently impounded election records and other related documents earlier this month.
“We have to stop worrying about superficial personal drama that distracts us from the pressing issues we all care so deeply about, and demand that our elected officials make something happen. But we shouldn’t wait around; hoping someone else will act first. If elected officials won’t lead then we – the people who are paying the bills – need to act. That’s our job as citizens.”
Harris resides in North Richland Hills, a small suburb in Tarrant County, with his wife Suzanne and their three daughters. While political activism has become a profession, he still dabbles in a few side ventures. He’s a rabid second amendment enthusiast, but says he exercises the first amendment as often as he can.
One thing is clear—Texas taxpayers are far better off because of it.
You can see the full presentation by Aaron Harris regarding Tarrant County’s alleged voter fraud case on the Empower Texans Facebook page.