You read the title correctly, dear reader. On 24 May — only 9 days from now! — there will be a runoff election to choose the Republican candidate for a seat on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE). Texas GOP voters in District 9 will be deciding whether their candidate in the general election will be Mary Lou Bruner or Keven Ellis, a chiropractor.
Both are seeking the seat currently held by Thomas Ratliff, who is not running for re-election. Until 2010, that seat had been occupied by Don McLeroy, the legendary creationist dentist, and as we reported earlier, Don McLeroy Endorses Mary Lou Bruner. You can find all the background information you need in our earlier post, Mary Lou Countdown — 16 Days To Go.
Just when things were looking rosy for Mary Lou — and for your Curmudgeon’s blog — she seems to be encountering some trouble. We spotted an editorial opposing her and recommending her opponent. It doesn’t appear in just any newspaper, but in the Longview News-Journal of Longview, Texas. It’s titled We endorse: Keven Ellis is clear choice for State Board of Education . The newspaper has a comments feature.
Why is that editorial important? Because the city of Longview is located in two Texas counties, Gregg and Harrison, both in District 9 which Mary Lou will represent — if she wins. Essentially, the hometown newspaper is against her, and that can’t be good. Here are some excerpts from the editorial, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
While too few of us were paying attention, Mary Lou Bruner very nearly won the Republican nomination to represent District 9 on the State Board of Education. But by narrowly failing to receive the 50 percent it took to avoid a primary election runoff, the retired elementary school teacher gave East Texas voters a chance to wake up and do the right thing: Vote for Keven Ellis, the immensely qualified president of the Lufkin ISD school board, to represent them.
Wow — that’s rather strong. They go on to praise Ellis a bit, but that doesn’t interest us. As we pointed out in Mary Lou’s Republican Opponent, he’s also a creationist (we quoted him saying: “Students should discuss the strengths and weaknesses of evolution”), but he’s far less outrageous than Mary Lou. Then the editorial says:
Ellis got just enough votes to qualify for a runoff. That’s fortunate, because it is rare that voters get a chance for a “do-over” when they make a mistake. And electing Bruner over Ellis would be a big one.
No doubt about the newspaper’s opinion. Let’s read on:
For us, the scariest thing about Bruner’s education ideas is her belief the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) are being overemphasized and that more traditional subjects — reading and writing, for instance — should take the upper hand.
To hamper Texas students in this area would be to make them less able to compete with students from other states and around the world. We should not do that to our children. Bruner wants us to go back to “good old days” that no longer exist. Burdening students with old ways of thinking isn’t going to make those days return.
Great stuff, huh? The editorial continues:
Bruner’s out-of-step ideas on education aren’t the only evidence of her tenuous grasp on reality. Throughout her campaign, she has made a string of claims that have been untrue and bizarre. Early on, she drew national attention for suggesting President Barack Obama had worked as a gay male prostitute to support a drug habit, that school shootings occur because students are taught science and that Karl Marx espoused the threat of global warming more than 100 years ago.
We’ve written about those — and more — in earlier posts. Note that the editorial says her ideas are “evidence of her tenuous grasp on reality” and that they are “bizarre.” And that’s not all:
More recently, in a meeting with a group of East Texas school superintendents, another set of her statements was called into question. They ranged from claiming to have met with school administrators when no such meetings had occurred, to others showing she lacks knowledge about basic facts of Texas education.
The editorial finishes with this:
For those reasons, we strongly suggest a vote for Keven Ellis to represent District 9 on the State Board of Education.
We don’t know how much influence that editorial will have, but it’s got to have some effect. Your Curmudgeon is deeply troubled. This blog depends on creationists for entertainment, so we support Mary Lou!
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