Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale (left), Wayne Dolcefino (center) and Jonathan McCullough (right) discuss a lawsuit filed against Harris County over an alleged lack of transparency regarding the November 2022 election during a press conference on July 20, 2023. Photo by Lucio Vasquez/Houston Public Media

A national Black conservative group has teamed up with a local business icon, not to sell more product or make cute commercials, but to sue Harris County.

Houston’s Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has become nationally known for his business with its memorable commercial tagline (and those over-the-top sports bets), serving Houstonians in need and inking generous NIL deals with the University of Houston.

But over the past year, more people are becoming familiar with McIngvale’s national political leanings and their impact on local politics.

The nickname “MAGA Mack” hasn’t yet caught on, but it may not be far off, as a national Black conservative group, the Urban Conservatives of America (UCA) has joined the lawsuit filed by McIngvale against Harris County over an alleged lack of transparency regarding the November 2022 election. And if that weren’t enough to flex his far-right conservative street cred, McIngvale filed the lawsuit with Dolcefino Consulting, led by hyper-conservative Wayne Dolcefino.

UCA claims a national membership of 30,000-plus “faith-based” Black conservatives from across the nation. They have signed on to the McIngvale/Dolcefino lawsuit that alleges that the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office failed to turn over records related to last year’s midterm election in Harris County. That lawsuit also asserts that the office was plagued by voting machine malfunctions, ballot paper shortages, and multiple late openings of polling locations during the Nov. 2022 election causing delays for voters. A judge ordered voting centers to remain open an hour later than planned due to the concerns.

“Our right to transparency is as sacred as our right to vote,” said Jonathan McCullough, the founder and CEO of the Urban Conservatives of America. “Transparency in our electoral process is essential to ensure our right to vote is preserved as we get the representation that we deserve.”

Various members of Houston’s Black faith-based community, however, view the lawsuit as ironic at best, and purposefully insulting at worst.

“Where was Mattress Mack and these so-called Black conservative church folk when Texas had to be investigated by national agencies for voter suppression and gerrymandered maps that squashed Black and Brown votes,” said Eunice Proctor, who wanted to keep her church affiliation private “because these conservatives are violent and vindictive.”

Eunice’s husband Charzelle felt the same way.

“Our votes have been suppressed for eons,” said Charzelle. “Hell, in my own lifetime we had to pay poll taxes just to vote. So, who the hell are these uncle toms who come buck-dancing into town talking about conservative votes are being suppressed? If I were a younger man, I’d probably have to go out there and give them more than just a piece of my mind.”

After filing the lawsuit, McIngvale launched an information-gathering campaign searching for voters who had problems casting their ballots last year as outlined in the lawsuit. Recently, McIngvale said “a couple hundred” people have reached out with complaints. Neither the Defender nor any other Houston-based media outlet has been able to verify that claim.

“We think the November 2022 election was an absolute debacle,” McIngvale said. “We’re just calling for Harris County to be transparent and show us what really happened.”

Republicans both locally and across Texas have criticized how the election was run in the state’s largest county. These complaints resulted in another lawsuit filed by the Harris County Republican Party in November alleging the county and Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum had violated election laws and “illegally disenfranchised tens of thousands” of registered voters.

“What really gets me is, if this mattress fella and these rent-a-Negroes really cared about fair elections they would have fought to keep all those things that county clerk young man [Chris Hollins] did in 2020 to open the door for record voting in the middle of a pandemic. But them conservatives threw all that out. So, I see where their heart is,” added Eunice.

Dolcefino said his group plans to amend the lawsuit soon to add additional claims against Harris County’s elections office.

(Source: Houston Public Media)

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...