Eric Mahroum — who supports displaying the Ten Commandments in public schools and opposes teaching about birth control in sex education classes — went down in flames in Tuesday’s Republican runoff for the District 11 seat on the Texas State Board of Education.

Longtime incumbent Pat Hardy easily defeated Mahroum 59%-41% in the Republican runoff for the seat. Both are from Fort Worth.

The March primary had been much closer, with Hardy leading by only about 6 percent.

Mahroum was backed by Tea Party activists as well as creationists like former SBOE chairman Don McLeroy and current board members David Bradley and Ken Mercer. Because SBOE districts are heavily gerrymandered, it will be very hard for the board’s far-right bloc to gain any additional seats in the November general election.

Hardy will face Democrat Nancy Bean and Libertarian Craig Sanders in the November election.

In another SBOE race, Erika Beltran defeated Andrea Hilburn 66%-34% in the Democratic runoff for the District 13 SBOE seat. That district includes parts of Dallas and Fort Worth. Beltran faces Libertarian Junart Sodoy in November.

Click here for our SBOE Election Watch page, which includes information on all of this year’s board races.… Read More

One of the most divisive members of the Texas State Board of Education‘s far-right faction survived a tough re-election fight in his Republican primary on Tuesday. Candidates in the two other contested primary races for seats on state board are headed to May 27 runoffs.

Incumbent David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, defeated challenger Rita Ashley of Beaumont in the Republican primary for the District 7 state board seat. First elected to his board seat in 1996, Bradley defeated Ashley by about 10 percentage points despite being outspent by about 10-1. Although herself a conservative who has worked for key Republican legislators, Ashley faced an uphill climb in a Republican primary electorate dominated by radical tea party and religious-right activists.

Bradley insists that separation of church and state isn’t a key constitutional principle, rejects the theory of evolution and opposes responsible sex education. His defeat would have been a major blow to the board’s far-right bloc, which has lost several key members since its peak strength before the 2010 elections.

In the District 11 race in and around Fort Worth, incumbent Pat Hardy appears headed to a runoff against tea party activist Eric Mahroum. Unofficial returns showed Hardy with 49.57… Read More

With just a month go before the March 4 primary elections, challenger Rita Ashley is outspending — by far — incumbent David Bradley in the Republican primary race for the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) District 7 seat in Southeast Texas.

Ashley lost to Bradley in the 2012 GOP primary. She is a former schoolteacher and has worked both as the clerk for the Texas House Public Education Committee and as district director for Republican state Sen. Tommy Williams.

Campaign finance reports show that she has loaned her campaign $75,500 since July of last year and has raised more than $10,000 in contributions. That has allowed her campaign to spend nearly $75,000 so far. She reported more than $15,000 in cash on hand in her most recent report. All candidates were required to file finance reports by Monday, Feb. 3, 30 days before the primary.

In contrast, Bradley has spent about $3,000 and reported $1,360.12 in cash on hand. His campaign had $2,400 in outstanding loans, according to his finance report.

A leader of the SBOE’s  far-right faction, Bradley won election to the board in 1996. SBOE Chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, has given Bradley’s campaign… Read More

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