Farney or Russell: Texas SBOE Runoff Getting Nasty

Marsha Farney (left), Brian Russell (right)

THE day is fast approaching. The election is on 13 April — this coming Tuesday. We’re speaking of the Republican primary runoff election for the Texas State Board of Education. It’s a contest between hard-core, full-blown creationist Brian Russell and Marsha Farney, a former teacher with a doctorate in education. Our most recent post on this was here, and before that we wrote: Texas SBOE Primary Runoff: 13 April.

In today’s Austin Chronicle we read SBOE Run-Off: Who is Marsha Farney? Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

GOP State Board of Education candidate Marsha Farney of Georgetown says she’s coming under attack from her run-off opponent as a “closet liberal.” Meanwhile, her potential Democratic opponent worries that maybe Farney could be somewhat of a continuation of the right-wingers that have caused the SBOE to become a national embarrassment.

Farney is being attacked by her creationist opponent for being a liberal, and by the dem candidate for being a right-winger. She’s in an awkward situation. Let’s read on:

In a statement on Farney’s website, Farney claims that Austin attorney Brian Russell – her opponent in Tuesday’s run-off – and his supporters have attacked her because of a $2,300 donation her husband, Bryan, made to the Barack Obama campaign during the 2008 primaries.

Ooops! There’s probably no way for a Republican to recover from that. What does Farney say?

Farney doesn’t deny the donation but explains it thus: “My husband wanted to be sure that McCain would win the presidential election, so during the Demo­cratic primary he decided to participate in Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos to extend the Democratic presidential nominating process by giving a donation to Obama.” It was a strategy, she adds, “I disagreed with then and now.”

Will that explanation save the situation? We remember Operation Chaos. During the primaries, Rush was roguishly recommending cross-over votes for Hillary, hoping to prolong the democrat food fight, and also thinking she’d be easier to defeat in the general election. We don’t recall Rush’s recommending financial contributions to Obama, but maybe that happened in Texas. If so, Farney’s explanation makes sense. Otherwise … . Anyway, let’s continue:

On her website, Farney goes after Rus­sell: “Brian Russell DID NOT DONATE A SINGLE PENNY TO SARAH PALIN OR JOHN MCCAIN, OR ANY OTHER SIGNIFICANT REPUBLICAN OFFICIAL. Yet he claims our respective donation records show he is conservative and I’m not. Public Records clearly show otherwise.” A search of Federal Election Commission and Texas Ethics Commission records shows Russell making several contributions to Republican causes and candidates – but none to a presidential candidate.

This is interesting, but your Curmudgeon would prefer for the creationism issue to come out of the closet. Well, it’s never far below the surface. For example:

Meanwhile, Democrat Judy Jennings – who will face either Russell or Farney in November for the SBOE District 10 seat – told the Chronicle: “I’m hearing people say that she introduces herself by saying, ‘The first thing you need to know about me is that I’m a Christian.’ I’m not sure that’s the first thing people need to know.”

Is that because Farney is obsessed with religion, or because she’s trying to deflect Russell’s attacks? One more excerpt:

Farney says the way she introduces herself “varies – it depends on the moment. It’s true that I’m a Christian, and I’m not embarrassed or bothered by that.” However, she says: … “I am an educator. Even though I am a Republican and a conservative and a Christian, I will vote each individual issue on its merits, not in a bloc. … I consider my religious views personal. It’s not just a political game.”

It’s getting nasty. And personal. And crazy. Hey, it’s Texas. We’ll be watching the results on Tuesday night.

Update: See Texas SBOE Election Results: Farney or Russell?

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Farney or Russell: Texas SBOE Runoff Getting Nasty

  1. The Curmudgeon notes

    It’s getting nasty. And personal. And crazy. Hey, it’s Texas.

    Indeed. And, just in case you managed to miss this particular vampire ‘n biker splatter epic, the fim Hard Ride to Hell similarly notes

    Texas can be an unforgiving state

  2. Farney has also said that evolution doesn’t threaten her faith, while Russell was endorsed by the so-called Texans for Better Science Education, a creationist group.

    Also, look who contributed to Russell:

    Don McLeroy: $2,000
    David Bradley: $500

    Obviously, this is not as neatly cut as Eugenie Scott vs. Ken Ham, but I’ll take Farney in this one.

  3. Gabriel Hanna

    Let me get this straight–their problem is that Farley’s HUSBAND donated to Obama and not to any Republicans?

    Do they just assume that her politics are necessarily subordinate to her husband’s? What the hell?

    My wife isn’t eligible to vote, but she has her own opinions and if she were running for office and someone criticized HER for MY votes and contributions I’d do everything in my power to maked them look like fools in the press.

    Why isn’t her husband standing up for her? Why can’t he explain that they don’t agree on politics? He could even say he won’t vote for her.

  4. Gabriel, she stood up for herself pretty forcefully: