Much of the attention tonight will focus on the Dewhurst v. Cruz senate race. But there are three Texas State Board of Education races on runoff ballots across the state as we wrap up the primaries and look toward November.

Keep an eye on this post later tonight for updates on the SBOE races. Here’s what’s on tap:

District 2 – Democratic Runoff | District Map | Down in the Valley it’s Ruben Cortez, Brownsville, against Celeste Zepeda Sanchez, San Benito. The winner faces Laurie Turner, who won the May 29 Republican primary over Veronica Anzaldua. The seat is currently held by retiring SBOE member Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi.

District 10 – Republican Runoff | District Map | In central Texas it will be Tom Maynard of Florence versus Rebecca Osborne of Round Rock. This seat was vacated by Marsha Farney, who decided to run for the state House instead. The winner of tonight’s race will face Judy Jennings, D-Austin, who lost to Farney in 2010.

District 12 – Republican Runoff | District Map | Geraldine “Tincy” Miller looks to take a step toward regaining the seat she lost to… Read More

District 12 Texas State Board of Education candidate Gail Spurlock is building a reputation for extremism that might well win her fans (and votes) among far-right conservatives. But to a large swath of mainstream Texans, her latest comments are downright insulting.

Spurlock, who has gone on record with her belief that the Pilgrims were communists and her opposition to comprehensive sex education because kids are “gonna figure it out” on their own, dropped another whopper at a candidate forum last week when she blamed women — specifically professional women — for the decline in public education.

Speaking at an Allen Area Patriots candidate forum (along with Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, Spurlock’s primary opponent in Tuesday’s Republican runoff) Spurlock used her opening statement to say the following (video below):

“I’m running because our school system has really let us down. For the past 26 years we’ve seen a steady deterioration in our academic achievement of our students — that also parallels, interestingly, about from the early 70s when women decided it’s time to go back to work, and, you know, being someone’s employee is so much more of an identity than being someone’s wife and mother. That parental… Read More

Donna “Jeffrey Dahmer Believed in Evolution” Garner’s fiery email exchange with Texas State Board of Education member George Clayton this week included a particularly interesting tidbit you might have missed. Garner suggested a variety of reasons for supporting Gail “Pilgrims Were Commies” Spurlock as Clayton’s replacement on the board. Among them, she said, is that Spurlock is “a successful business woman who has homeschooled her own children for some years.”

So Spurlock’s decision to abandon the very public school system she wants to manage for everyone else’s kids is a plus? Of course, a number of creationists on the state board over the last few years also homeschooled their children. One, former board member Cynthia Dunbar, even called public schools unconstitutional, “tyrannical” and a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” Does Spurlock agree with those sentiments too? Read More

Texas State Board of Education member George Clayton’s guns are blazing in a searing email exchange that makes it clear he plans to run for re-election as a write-in candidate this November. Clayton finished third in the May 29 Republican primary for the Dallas-area, District 12 seat. Former state board member Geraldine “Tincy” Miller and Gail Spurlock face each other in a July 31 runoff for the GOP nomination against Democrat Lois Parrott. But what’s really interesting in Clayton’s emails is his open contempt for right-wingers who have used his sexual orientation as a campaign tactic against him.

Last November Clayton acknowledged he is gay after he became aware of a whisper campaign among right-wing activists questioning his personal life. Donna “Jeffrey Dahmer Believed in Evolution” Garner, a right-wing gadfly and ally of the state board’s creationist faction, subsequently withdrew her earlier endorsement of Clayton. She warned that he couldn’t be trusted to help revise new health curriculum standards — standards that cover sex education — because he’s gay.

Yesterday Garner fired off an email to her list supporting Spurlock, one of nine state board candidates who got the highest “grades” in… Read More

The conservative website Texas Insider calls Gail Spurlock’s bizarre history lesson about the Pilgrims its “quote of the week” “from Republicans behaving badly.” Spurlock is running in the GOP primary for the Dallas-area District 12 seat on the State Board of Education. From Texas Insider:

“If one states the Pilgrims were radicals seeking a communist-socialist utopia, there is obviously something to debate … much less take note of before entering the Voting Booth. Especially making the link more than two centuries before Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto.”

TFN Insider was the first to report about Spurlock’s comments here and here.… Read More

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