In what the Dallas Morning News called “a runoff uglier than any in Dallas,” COS Texas State Director Shelby Williams recently won a seat on the Plano City Council.
Initially faced with two opponents, Shelby gained enough grassroots support to prevent the well-known incumbent from garnering the 50% of votes required to win outright in the May 4th election, thereby triggering a run-off election. Though ending 2.5 points behind on May 4th, in the final June 8th vote, Shelby pulled ahead to a 53-47% victory.
Incidentally, May 4th was the two-year anniversary of the passage of the Convention of States resolution in Texas.
Shelby first began to consider pursuing the seat when asked to run by several fellow Plano citizens. This was the first time he had ever done anything like this, and beyond voting, had never even been active in politics before becoming involved in the Article V movement in 2013.
“But COS made me realize that just voting is no longer an option,” Shelby said. “If you do not get involved with government at all levels, then you allow government to be something that happens to you. And that never works out in your favor.”
He was also concerned about specific issues in Plano, especially property taxes and population density.
Shelby knew that the campaign would involve sacrifice—significant time away from his young daughters. But he concluded that the cost was more than offset by the example he could provide of a citizen patriot who was willing do the right thing when presented with the opportunity.
Faced with a well-known and experienced opponent, Shelby encountered several challenges.
As a newcomer to elective office, he had no name recognition, and so relied heavily on block-walking, going door-to-door to spread his message. Shelby’s effort was assisted by a key endorsement from Gov. Greg Abbott.
His chief opponent outspent him more than five to one. Shelby’s campaign operated on a shoe-string budget and he poured a significant amount of personal funds into the venture.
But one of the biggest challenges was the misinformation spread by his opposition. The incumbent misrepresented his own record as well as Shelby’s positions. Among other falsehoods, he twisted Shelby’s support of Convention of States into a desire to “replace the Constitution.” And Shelby feels that the media was complicit in burying the truth.
Shelby released videos to correct the record. In the face of accusations of running a “negative campaign,” he feels strongly that shining light on the facts (good or bad) is necessary in order for the voters to be informed.
In the end, Shelby credits his success to the amazing grassroots support he received and his block-walking strategy. He also feels that his strengths in speaking and writing helped him to communicate his message effectively.
Shelby believes his race has significance for 2020. Texas is a battleground state, and Collin County is a key battleground within Texas.
“We rely on an informed and engaged citizenry,” Shelby said. “If we lose that, we lose the country.” His victory sent a message to the grassroots that even entrenched power structures are not invincible when We the People are activated and engaged.
Shelby Williams was just one of several COS Texas volunteers who have run for elective office recently. He points out the learning process that was required.
“I didn't know what I was doing, I had to learn it,” he said.
Shelby did learn how to run a successful campaign, and now he's beginning his adventure in service to the city of Plano. As a new city councilman, he is an example to his family, his COS compatriots, and all Americans who understand that self-governance is essential to “keep the Republic.”