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More on the SBOE

The Texas Freedom Network does a victory dance over the defeat of wingnut SBOE member Don McLeroy, noting that overall the forces of good did much better than the far right did.

“Don McLeroy was right when he said this election was a referendum on what the board has done over the past four years,” [TFN President Kathy] Miller said. “Voters sent a clear message by rejecting the ringleader of the faction that has repeatedly dragged our public schools into the nation’s divisive culture wars over the past four years. Parents want a state board that focuses on educating their kids, not promoting divisive political and personal agendas.”

The Republican primary between McLeroy and challenger Thomas Ratliff of Mount Pleasant had the highest profile of all the state board contests. In addition to McLeroy’s defeat in District 9, Randy Rives of Odessa lost his race against incumbent Bob Craig of Lubbock in the District 15 Republican primary, and Joan Muenzler lost her District 3 GOP primary against fellow San Antonian Tony Cunningham. Both Rives and Muenzler were backed by far-right groups such as WallBuilders and the Texas Pastor Council.

In addition, Austin attorney Brian Russell, who Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, recruited to run for her District 10 seat, was forced into a Republican runoff against Marsha Farney of Georgetown.

The NCSE also celebrates McLeroy’s defeat. There’s a decent chance that Dunbar’s old seat could flip to the Democrats, where Judy Jennings is the nominee. Democrats also have a strong candidate in Rebecca Bell-Metereau running against Ken Mercer in district 5, though that’s a tougher hill to climb. Here’s an email I got from Suzy Allison, that lays out what we have to look forward to from here:

PRIMARY RESULTS ARE IN – THE LINEUP FOR THE NOVEMBER ELECTION

There are eight SBOE seats which will be filled in November. Here are the results so far.

Some you win, some you lose, one goes into overtime.

District 1 – 38 counties from El Paso to Starr County along the Rio Grande, stretching north to include Midland County, Mason and Bandera Counties. Rene Nunez (D), incumbent. Nunez is the Democratic nominee, and will be challenged by Carlos “Charlie” Garza, the Republican nominee. Neither had a primary challenger. This district’s down-ballot race non-Presidential year performance in 2006 was 53.5% D, 46.5% R.

District 3 – All or part of 13 counties from Bexar in the north to Hidalgo County in the south. Rick Agosto (D), incumbent. Michael Soto is the Democratic nominee (Agosto did not file for re-election), Tony Cunningham is the Republican Nominee. The down-ballot off-year numbers from 2006 for this district are 57.9% D, 42.1% R.

District 4 – Part of Harris County and a small part of Fort Bend County. Lawrence A. Allen, Jr. (D), incumbent. Allen is returning to the SBOE, as he had no primary challenge and has no Republican opponent in this overwhelmingly Democratic district.

District 5 – Parts of Bexar and Travis Counties, as well as Bell, Burnet, Llano, Gillespie, Blanco, Kendall, Hays, Caldwell, Guadalupe and Comal Counties. Ken Mercer (R), incumbent. Mercer won his primary and is the Republican nominee. Rebecca Bell-Metereau is the Democratic nominee. The 2006 down-ballot percentages for this district are 41.2% D, 58.8% R.

District 9 – From Fannin, Lamar and Red River Counties in the north, stretching south to include Brazos, Grimes and Walker Counties, includes part of Collin County. 29 counties lie entirely or partly in this district. Thomas Ratliff has beaten Don McLeroy in the Republican primary and will be seated on the SBOE. No Democrat filed in this Republican district.

District 10 – Parts of Travis County on the western end, and Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties on the eastern end, this also includes Williamson, Milam, Bastrop, Burleson, Lee, Fayette, Gonzales, DeWitt, Lavaca, Colorado, Austin, Washington and Waller Counties. Cynthia Dunbar (R), incumbent. Dunbar chose not to run for re-election. Judy Jennings is the Democratic nominee who had no primary opposition. Brian Russell and Marsha Farney will face each other in the Republican run-off. This district’s down-ballot performance in 2006 was 46.7% D, 53.3% R.

District 12 – Parts of Dallas and Collin Counties, Rockwall County. Geraldine “Tincy” Miller (R), incumbent. George M. Clayton, in a surprise, has beaten Geraldine “Tincy” Miller and will take a seat on the SBOE. Miller was usually a constructive voice on the SBOE. Clayton is relatively unknown, but some of his comments in a newspaper interview make it possible to doubt that he will be as constructive. This Republican district had no Democrat filed. This district’s 2006 down-ballot numbers were 37.8% D, 62.2% R.

District 15 – This 75-county (as in huge) panhandle district includes Lubbock County as its largest population center. Bob Craig (R), the incumbent, beat his primary opponent and will return to the SBOE. No Democrat filed. This district’s down-ballot numbers in 2006 were 30.2% D, 69.8% R.

Still unclear what Clayton’s defeat of Tincy Miller means. His website is sparse and amateurish, and while I get a somewhat hinky vibe from it, I really can’t draw any conclusions about him from it. Far as I can tell, no one has done a story on him or interview with him since Tuesday, and the TFN still hasn’t addressed his victory – for that matter, neither has anyone on the other side – so for now he’s a cipher. Stuff like this doesn’t help:

Clayton managed to topple the incumbent with his low-budget campaign, mostly conducted through appearances around the district and a Web site promoting his run.

“If you think that having a working teacher on the State Board of Education might be a refreshing, productive and appropriate move, then you will need to vote for me,” he said on his site.

Clayton of Richardson, who is academic coordinator at North Dallas High School, said on his site that “personal political views of board members should play no part in their decisions regarding textbook content or curriculum” – an apparent slap at the board’s social conservative bloc.

He did not return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.

Hard to say what the guy plans to do or how he plans to act if he isn’t talking. If anyone knows anything about him, please speak up in the comments. Thanks.

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10 Comments

  1. I voted in the GOP primary this time specifically to vote against Bryan Russell on the SBOE. I’ve got a 3-1/2 year old granddaughter who will soon attend public schools and I don’t want her textbooks to teach her that earth’s history is 6,000 years old, to disrespect science, etc.. That doesn’t mean I might not support Jennings in the fall, but when I looked at my two primary ballot options, that race stood out as extremely important and the most beneficial place to exercise my vote this go-round.

    On what Clayton’s victory means, nobody seems to know what he’s about, but in the big picture it means those voters wanted a change of direction from where the SBOE’s (so-called) conservative majority was taking them. It’ll be a shame if his positions on the board don’t live up to that.

  2. Kenneth Fair says:

    This paragraph on his website seems promising:

    The current board membership also has difficulty with their objectivity regarding state curriculum guidelines and what information should or should not be contained in textbooks. This issue is driven by the personal biases and prejudices of each board member. As an educator I see the question of curriculum and textbook content as a simple task; both should be agenda free. Personal political views of board members should play no part in their decision regarding text content or curriculum. Students, teachers and parents have a right to expect their board members to provide the fairest possible education in the state.

    I hope he lives up to that standard.

  3. […] Off the Kuff looks at primary results in the SBOE races. […]

  4. […] Off the Kuff looks at primary results in the SBOE races. […]

  5. At first I had the impression that Clayton was much more conservative than Tincy Miller, in an with Nathan Bernier, Clayton sounds fairly reasonable. Please check out what he has to say: http://texas2010.kut.org/2010/03/04/who-the-heck-is-george-clayton/
    Also, note that the down ballot prospects may have shifted somewhat, and our numbers may not be as grim as 2006 would indicate. There is hope!
    Rebecca Bell-Metereau
    Candidate for SBOE 5

  6. Please see corrected version of previous post. Thanks!
    At first I had the impression that Clayton was much more conservative than Tincy Miller, but in an interview with Nathan Bernier, Clayton sounds fairly reasonable. Please check out what he has to say: http://texas2010.kut.org/2010/03/04/who-the-heck-is-george-clayton/
    Also, note that the down ballot prospects may have shifted somewhat, and our numbers may not be as grim as 2006 would indicate. There is hope!
    Rebecca Bell-Metereau
    Candidate for SBOE 5

  7. […] Off the Kuff looks at primary results in the SBOE races. […]

  8. […] Off the Kuff looks at primary results in the SBOE races. […]

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