The 2012 Texas State Board of Education primary races have now been resolved, but the overall ideological balance of the board did not see a major shift following the May 29 primary, nor did it do so after last night’s primary runoff in three SBOE districts.
In a press statement last night, TFN Deputy Communications Director Jose Medina, summed it up this way:
“Texas deserves a State Board of Education that has, as its first priority, the education of children and not the divisive ideological battles of the recent past. We’ll have to wait until November to see if voters have had enough of board members who put their own political agendas ahead of education.”
Bottom line: the kind of board we get next January will be decided in the November general elections.
To recap, the slate of nine primary candidates identified by the religious right earlier this spring saw mixed results: four victories (only one by a new face — the rest were victories by incumbents) and five losses. It appears that the anti-establishment, Tea Party wave that likely propelled former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz to victory in the U.S. Senate race barely registered with SBOE voters.
Here’s how things played out last night in the three runoffs, two of which were nail-biters decided very late in the evening (vote percentages in parenthesis).
- District 2 — In the night’s lone Democratic runoff, Ruben Cortez of Brownsville edged out Celeste Zepeda Sanchez of Corpus Christi by 458 votes. (50%-49%)
- District 10 — The Republican runoff in this central Texas district was also a squeaker. Tom Maynard of Florence beat Rebecca Osborne by just under 1,000 votes. (50%-49%)
- District 12 — The race in this district was over early. Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, who held this seat for decades before her defeat to fellow Republican George Clayton in 2010, inched closer to returning to the board by defeating Gail Spurlock by 20+ points. (60%-39%)
Spurlock, by the way, was the fifth religious right-backed candidate to lose in the primaries and arguably the most extreme. During the campaign she made claims that the Pilgrims were Communists and argued against comprehensive sex education because teens will just “figure it out” on their own, among other troublesome statements.
So we’re all set for November. If you’re curious about all of the match-ups, our elections page at tfn.org/sboe2012 has already been updated to reflect the general election contests.
One more programming note. TFN is preparing to send questionnaires to all the SBOE candidates asking for their stance on critical issues that come before the board, including the adoption of new science textbooks in 2013 and new social studies textbooks in 2014. You can look for a voter guide sometime in September based on those questionnaires. We will also issue candidate endorsements in advance of the November elections. Stay tuned.