Moderates, Gay Republican & Professor Lose Big In SBOE Races

In the Texas Republican Primary election yesterday, challengers and “moderate” Republicans took their best shot at conservatives and largely lost, many of them losing by big numbers in Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) races.  The media and left-wing groups have become obsessed with who’s a “conservative” and who’s a “moderate” Republican on the SBOE.  You don’t see this type of scrutiny on the Democrat side, but we’ll leave that issue for another day.

In the North Texas area, incumbent SBOE member George Clayton finally got around to being transparent about his sexual orientation, admitting his homosexuality but not until after he was elected in 2010 and in office as a Republican. Clayton was only able to garner 23% of the votes in his re-election bid.  So 77% of the voters said “no” to an incumbent moderate Republican running for the State Board of Education.  Tincy Miller and Gail Spurlock are now headed to a run-off for this seat and both are supported by well known conservatives.

In the race to fill the seat vacated by well-established moderate Republican Bob Craig, Marty Rowley running as a conservative defeated Annette Carlisle .  Annette Carlisle was handpicked by moderate Bob Craig, and she lost.

The central Texas SBOE race to fill Marsha Farney’s seat is not quite so clear cut.  Marsha Farney has always called herself a conservative and she is supporting Tom Maynard who is headed to a run-off with Rebecca Osborne.  Jeff Fleece was endorsed by many well known conservatives but Tom Maynard’s answers to our Voter Guide questionnaire show conservative beliefs as well.  Maynard’s answers to our voters guide show he is pro-life, he would reject Biology textbooks if they don’t teach the strengths and weaknesses of evolution, he supports the History & Social Studies curriculum adopted by the SBOE in 2010, he supports abstinence over drug-based sex education, and he supports displaying the Ten Commandments in public school buildings.  Rebecca Osborne did not answer our questionnaire.

In other races, three conservative SBOE leaders defeated their challengers decisively; Barbara Cargill (68% – 32%), Ken Mercer (71% – 29) and David Bradley (58%- 42%).

Linda Ellis, who didn’t even receive half the number of votes received by Cargill in their race, was listed by the Houston Chronicle as one of the “moderates” that they were endorsing for SBOE races.

Ken Mercer defeated moderate Steve Salyer by a very wide margin.  Mercer continues to show he is as solid as they come in a Republican primary.

Thomas Ratliff, the Northeast Texas incumbent who is proud to call himself a moderate, did retain his seat against a strong challenge by conservative businessman Randy Stevenson, 53% – 47%.

Conservative member Gail Lowe lost her seat by a 53% – 47% result to Sue Melton, but this race did not have a lot of attention or activity so it’s unclear at this point what dynamics led to the incumbent losing.  Sue Melton did not answer our voters guide questionnaire but on her website Sue Melton says she has a “strong foundation in traditional Texas values.”

Also of note, professor and Democratic incumbent, Michael Soto, was doubled up by his primary challenger, bringing his short-lived SBOE tenure (he was elected in 2010), to a dramatic end.  Marisa Perez defeated Soto, 66% – 34%.  Soto was adored by Texas Freedom Network and other liberals and was perceived as perfect for the SBOE because of his academia background.  I guess the voters didn’t see it that way.

So in sum, two additional seats now move to being “conservative” with one more as a possibility, and it’s just through the primary round. Overall, it was a good night for conservative representation on the SBOE.  And if there is any doubt about this, the liberals at Texas Freedom Network are already calling the results “alarming.”

We will have more on State Board of Education races as the July 31 runoff election date gets closer.

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