Election day has arrived. Once the polls close in Texas (7 p.m.), we’ll have results from the State Board of Education races here and on Twitter (@TFN). Look for #SBOE2012.

Because of redistricting, all 15 SBOE seats are up for grabs tonight. And with several incumbents losing in their party primaries or declining to run for re-election, we are assured that the board will look different next year. The question is, how different? We’ll find out this evening.

Hat tip to the Texas Tribune for the awesome results widget below.

11:09 p.m. — Carlos “Charlie” Garza has lost his District 1 seat to Democrat Martha Dominguez. This is the first, and perhaps the only, to switch parties tonight. If results hold in District 2, Democrats will pick up one seat on the board.

10:30 p.m. — We’re down to two pending races as District 10 has gone to Republican Tom Maynard. The incumbent in this district ran for the Texas House instead of re-election.

9:50 p.m. — Republican Ken Mercer is projected to win re-election in District 5.

9:23 p.m. — Looks like missed two calls earlier. In District 6, Donna Bahorich, a Republican, will her… Read More

Yesterday's elections will bring a lot of new faces to the Texas State Board of Education in January. The big question is whether those new faces will bring to the board a new focus on educating children instead of promoting personal and political agendas. As of now, the state board will still have at least five members aligned in a far-right faction that has dragged nearly every curriculum and textbook issue over the past four years into divisive and unnecessary "culture war" battles. The elections yesterday may add at least one member to that faction on the 15-member board, but that remains to be seen. That would appear to leave nine or ten other board members -- Republicans and Democrats -- who can work together to put education ahead of politics. Read More

On Tuesday voters head to the polls in important elections for state and national offices. Races for the Texas State Board of Education are especially important this year. For the past four years, a powerful faction of political and religious extremists on the state board has turned nearly every critical debate on curriculum standards and textbooks into a “culture war” battleground. Those divisive and destructive battles have put politics ahead of the education of millions of Texas schoolchildren.

The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s 2010 Voter Guide will help you learn more about the candidates and their positions on critical education issues. Check our Voter Guide here — then get out and vote!… Read More

The religious right insists on using faith to divide Americans. So with voters headed to the polls on Tuesday, the website for WallBuilders — David Barton’s Texas-based group that opposes separation of church and state — offers two links to voter guides: one for Christians and one for “Judeo-Christians.” (Click the image below to see what we mean.) Both links take readers to a map showing all the states. Interestingly, clicking on “Texas” gets you the same voter guides whether you accessed the map for Christians or “Judeo-Christians.” Maybe this is a “separate but equal” kind of thing.

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The final campaign finance reports before next Tuesday's election were released earlier this week, detailing funds raised and expended over the period of September 24 - October 23. They suggest we might be in for an eventful closing week in some of the hotly contested SBOE races. Here are a few of the notable findings from these reports: District 10 Democratic candidate Judy Jennings continued her strong fundraising performance, reporting another $32,000 raised during this period. She also reported expenditures in excess of $71,000, mostly on media purchases. The Jennings campaign reported just over $13,000 on hand heading into the final 8 days of the campaign. Jennings' Republican opponent Marsha Farney also reported more than $58,000 in media expenditures during the period. However, Farney reported minimal funds raised during the period, so she appears to be dipping into her own pockets for these purchasesΒ  -- just as TFN Insider predicted last month. District 5 Republican incumbent Ken Mercer enters the home stretch with just over $16,000 on hand. Mercer continues to spend comparatively small amounts on his campaign (though he did send a donation of $100 to the far-right group Texas Alliance for Life). Democratic challenger Rebecca Bell-Metereau raised more than $32,000 during the reporting period, and spent almost $62,000 on television spots and other advertising. Other interesting items Houston homebuilder and major Republican donor Bob Perry took another step into the world of SBOE politics, contributing $5,000 each to the campaigns of Bob Craig (R, Lubbock) and George Clayton (R-Dallas). (Perry previously gave $5,000 each to the Garza and Mercer campaigns.) Republican donor Michael Boylan of Houston jumped into two SBOE contests, giving $5,000 each to Carlos Garza (SBOE Dist. 1) and Ken Mercer. Links to campaign finance reports for all of the SBOE candidates after the jump. *Update: The original post stated that the last filing available for Thomas Ratliff, Republican candidate for SBOE 9, was from July. The Texas Ethics Commission has now updated the website, and Ratliff's 8-day out report is now linked in the table below. Read More

Texas Rising

#SB9 is a truly horrible bill for voting rights. That's why @TFN signed on to the letter. Check out the @TXCivilRights thread below for the truly horrible details. #txlege twitter.com/TXCivilR…