An influential East Texas Tea Party group has taken back its endorsement of Mary Lou Bruner, the controversial Republican vying for the District 9 seat on the Texas State Board of Education.
The group, Grassroots America-We the People, took issue with Bruner’s refusal to address the numerous inaccurate statements about public education she made at a gathering of school superintendents earlier this month. On the other hand, though, the group doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with Bruner’s many, many other inaccurate claims and her peddling of outlandish conspiracy theories, which Grassroots America surely knew about when they first endorsed her months ago.
In a press release issued Wednesday, Grassroots America executive director JoAnn Fleming announced that a majority of the group’s board of directors voted to pull the endorsement. It was the first time Grassroots America had taken such a step in the organization’s seven-year history, she said.
From the release:
One of the reasons we endorsed Mrs. Bruner was because of her long years of experience as a teacher. We believe the practical classroom experience of teachers is not respected or valued enough by many public school administrators, trustees, and legislators attempting to “fix” public education. We hoped another teacher’s voice on the State Board of Education would bring common sense, clarity, and expertise on setting school curriculum standards and the adoption of instructional materials.
Unfortunately, once we viewed the raw, unedited video of Mrs. Bruner speaking to Region 7 Superintendents on May 4th and read her written statement, we had no choice but to start the process of reconsidering the endorsement. The responsibility to correct the record was Mrs. Bruner’s. We hoped she would issue a press release and post a statement on her website and social media pages to apologize and set the record straight with accurate, sourced information. Sadly, that did not happen.
You can watch video of Bruner speaking to the superintendents here. During her speech, Bruner made wild claims about the number of schoolchildren who are in special education and spoke of teacher shortages that simply didn’t exist.
Strangely, though, the Grassroots America press release makes no mention of asking Bruner to account for her claims that President Obama was a gay prostitute, that pre-K programs are a federal plot to make children gay and that the Democratic Party was behind the Kennedy assassination, among many others. Those were no secret when Grassroots America endorsed Bruner in the March 1 primary she won easily, but not with enough of the vote to avoid a runoff.
Clearly Grassroots America is fine with wild conspiracies and accurate facts are not required for an endorsement. If that wasn’t the case, then how do you explain their support of Louie Gohmert? As of this writing, that endorsement still stands.
Bruner faces Keven Ellis in next week’s primary runoff. The winner will meet Democrat Amanda Rudolph in the November general election.