Come filing time in Texas elections, it is a certainty that voters will see a number of fringe or perennial candidates pay the fee and put their name on the ballot despite a lack of any real campaign or qualifications for public office and this year two establishment groups are embarrassing themselves by backing such a candidate.
James Wilson has filed to challenge State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R–Spring), a freshman legislator and Taxpayer Champion who defeated 15-year incumbent State Rep. Debbie Riddle in 2016.
But this time Wilson has drawn the support of a couple of establishment groups who seem willing to overlook his qualifications in order to endorse against a conservative. To say Wilson’s past is checkered doesn’t go far enough in describing the personal and financial problems he has created in his life.
Despite his complete failure at running a business and managing his own personal finances, the Texas Association of Business has endorsed Wilson’s campaign against Swanson.
In divorce proceedings in 2008, Wilson’s now ex-wife called for psychiatric evaluation, describing him as a man that “appears to be delusional at times regarding his self-importance, abilities and reality in general.” Wilson’s behavior following the divorce has underscored his wife’s assessment.
In 2012, Wilson ran a campaign against State Rep. Debbie Riddle in which he managed to receive less than 20% of the vote. Four years later, he set his sights even higher, running against State Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R–Houston) and only receiving 10% of the vote.
While Wilson was running these vanity campaigns, his personal and professional life was crumbling. In 2015, during his campaign against Bettencourt, Wilson filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy with unsecured claims totaling $166,688. Wilson’s debts included credit cards, student loans, unpaid cell phone bills, and even $80,000 his parents loaned him before his 2012 campaign.
The same bankruptcy documents revealed Wilson made $0 a month, as his fledgling insurance business, Wilson Risk Management LLC, hemorrhaged money. In 2017, when his ex-wife filed a motion to modify the parent-child relationship, she asserted Wilson was not actually working:
James’ work history has been unstable and it appears that he does not work. He has always claimed to be self-employed but he is always home and the children tell me that her dad and step-mom are always sleeping.
Wilson apparently slept through his bankruptcy, as he continued to fail to make payments to his trustee. Last year, his house was foreclosed on after Wilson got $50,000 behind on his mortgage payments.
This isn’t the first ignominious endorsement the liberal “pro-business” group has doled out this cycle. TAB also endorsed Clint Bedsole in Frisco, whose own business was recently taken to court for a failure to pay over $200,000 in loans.
In addition to TAB, Wilson also boasts the endorsement of the faux pro-life group Texas Alliance for Life, an organization whose mission in recent in years has been to give cover to establishment Republicans and work against actual pro-life bills in the legislature.
With their endorsement of Wilson’s campaign against Swanson, the establishment has shown they are willing to overlook the background and qualifications of any candidate so long as they promise to carry water in their fight against conservative leaders.