SBOE Candidates Debate Tonight, Thursday

Tonight a Bryan radio station will air a debate between Texas State Board of Education incumbent Don McLeroy and his Republican challenger Thomas Ratliff. The debate can be heard live 6-7 p.m. on KEOS radio, 89.1 FM. The program will also be recorded and available to listeners on the KEOS Web site after the debate.

McLeroy, a College Station Republican, was first elected to the District 9 seat in 1998 and is a leader of the board’s far-right faction. Ratliff is from the northeast Texas town of Mount Pleasant. The Republican Primary election is March 2.

UPDATE: State board candidates for District 5 will debate tomorrow morning (Thursday, Feb. 11) in Austin. Video recordings of the debates will be available (click here) shortly afterward. (The same link has information about time and location.) Democrats in the race will square off first, followed by the Republican candidates in a separate debate. District 5 stretches from San Antonio to Austin and Bell County farther north and includes a number of Hill Country counties. The half-day forum includes debates for candidates seeking local state House seats as well as the office of lieutenant governor. Click here for  more information.

A forum for candidates in the District 10 state board race has been set for next week in Bastrop. That district stretches from Austin to west of Houston. Incumbent Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, is not running for re-election. We will post more information about that event when we have it.

8 thoughts on “SBOE Candidates Debate Tonight, Thursday

  1. I just read Tom Ratliff’s biography on his website. Here are just a few thoughts:

    1) He sounds balanced and reasonable in his approach to education (i.e., leave it to trained educators who know what they are doing. No one really needs to stand up to the experts because they are…well..experts. Imagine that.).

    2) There is no sign of an extra-educational ideological ax to grind with education.

    3) He has become as unhappy and tired of the SBOE carnival as everyone else has.

    4) He makes no mention of a religious affiliation in his biography. I wonder why.

    5) Could he be a stealth candidate? For example, the Texas Republican Party thinks McLeroy is likely history because of his behavior. He could never beat a Democrat opponent because of his nuttiness. He will not resign from the SBOE or drop out of the election. Therefore, they have to run a stealth conservative against him (i.e., someone who is really just as nutty but knows how to hide it well until after the votes are counted.). The Texas news media should examine him closely for well-hidden signs of fruitcakeness.

    6) He could be an above-board conservative Republican with strong libertarian tendencies. Put another way, “Yes, Virginia. There are conservative Republicans who never enter the door of a church and have no Christian Neo-Fundamentalist or Christian nationalist ax to grind.” I am not sure how that would play with the voters down at Reverend Beverly B. Beverly’s Second Baptist (Twice-Removed) Separate Free Life Church—probably not very well. This would allow McLeroy to label him as a “Godless Republican” and go on to say how hard the Southern Baptist Convention and Texas Republican Party had worked to purge such people—so how could the people of Texas possibly think about voting for a person like this now. If Ratliff is a libertarian-style Republican, my guess is that this will be the campaign strategy for McLeroy.

    7) Listen for this in the debate tonight:

    McLeroy: Mr. Ratliff. Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour?

    Ratliff: I…er…uh.

    McLeroy: I rest my case.

  2. Or…we could hear this:

    Ratliff: “Do you believe that Jesus rode a dinosaur to get to his sermon sites?”

    McLeroy: “I certainly do, and, since you do not believe this, you must be a commie pinko terrorist!”

    Audience: “Huh?”

    Regardless of how it goes down, this debate should be interesting, though, should they have a McLeroy vs the Dem. candidate debate, now that would be a great time!

  3. For what it’s worth, from reading his comments at other web sites and in speaking with people working on and supporting his campaign, I am confident that Thomas Ratliff is the right choice.

  4. In another response, Charles wondered if “the Texas Republican Party thinks McLeroy is likely history because of his behavior. He could never beat a Democrat opponent because of his nuttiness.”

    Charles: rest assured that is NOT the case. Last time McLeroy ran, he was just as well known of a nut as this time. Yet his sensible Democratic challenger was handily defeated, just because she was a Democrat. She ran a sensible and active campaign, McLeroy spouted nonsense, and Texas voters reelected him by a large margin. For now, the only way to beat McLeroy is in the Republican primary.

  5. George. Thank you. I stand corrected. I have the disadvantage of not living in Texas and not knowing certain details that folks like you would know as a result of living there and being close to it all. However, I have to say that what you described does not surprise me.

    Tell me. I am thinking about moving to Texas and opening my own bakery business, mostly cakes, breads, and pastries. Do you think McLeroy’s district might be a good place to do that? In addition to flour, water, milk, butter, baking soda, and yeast, I will need access to large quantities of fruits and nuts at a reasonable wholesale cost.

  6. TFN: What video and audio of the election debates? I have gone to the links you provided, including radio station KEOS for McLeroy vs. Ratliff. I can find no evidence whatever of access to audio and/or video at these links. Either that or the maintainers of these pages are the best camouflage artists on the planet.