The State Board of Education candidate who gained national headlines for her controversial Facebook comments lost her Republican runoff Tuesday.
Mary Lou Bruner of Mineola had called President Obama a gay prostitute. She lost handily to her opponent, Keven Ellis. He’s the Lufkin school board president.
During the March primary, Bruner won with 48 percent of the vote. But Tuesday she got only 41 percent of the vote.
Ellis said Tuesday night he thinks the national attention on Bruner’s extreme comments ultimately helped him win the runoff.
“It’s unfortunate in a way that a lot of the time and energy of this election was spent on those things that didn’t pertain to education,” he said. “But fortunate for us that we were able to stick to our message, let the voters know who we were, and tonight they showed that they felt that that was the most important.”
Bruner would not answer questions from a KERA reporter Tuesday night.
She issued a statement Wednesday morning. “The future of our state and nation depends on public schools preparing our young people to become moral, family oriented, well-educated adults and patriots who love the U.S.A.,” Bruner said in her statement. “Anthony and I will continue to stay involved in the issues that impact Texas school children; and we pray that God in his mercy will guide the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education and other elected and appointed officials to make wise decisions that honor God, our Constitution, and our founding principles.”
Ellis moves on to the general election in November, when he’ll face Democrat Amanda Rudolph. The State Board of Education seat represents Rockwall County and several other counties east of Dallas-Fort Worth.
In another East Texas race, Texas House Representative Bryan Hughes of Mineola is one step closer to landing a seat in the state Senate. Hughes trounced fellow House member David Simpson for the Republican nomination. Senate District 1 includes Tyler, Texarkana and Paris.
Over in Tarrant County, there’s a new sheriff in town -- or at least there will be at the end of the year. Longtime Sheriff Dee Anderson failed to secure the fifth and final term he was seeking. He’ll be replaced by Former Dalworthington Gardens Police Chief Bill Waybourn. Waybourn won support from some local police associations, including the association that represents sheriff’s office employees.
From his victory party Tuesday night, Waybourn said his focus on day one will be on improving morale.
“We have got to invest in the people, and when I say invest in the people, invest in the relationship with them,” he said. “We want to go in and meet those people, turn around that morale issue by encouraging them and ensuring them that they’re in a good environment and we support them.”
There’s no Democrat running for Tarrant County Sheriff. Waybourn will face Libertarian Max Koch in November.