Same Board of Miseducation?

Republicans to represent Travis County on SBOE

It's uncertain if the craziness will continue at the State Board of Education, but if it ends, it will have to come at the hands of the GOP – Democrats lost ground Tuesday night, and Travis County will still be represented by two Republicans.

As in most races, the GOP candidates in District 5 (which includes southern Travis County) and District 10 (including northern Travis) hammered the Dems. Incumbent Ken Mercer – a vocal member of the religious right bloc that has made the SBOE a national laughingstock – proved immovable, winning 59% in the largely Hill Country District 5 over Texas State English professor Rebecca Bell-Metereau. In District 10, Georgetown educator Marsha Farney – who pumped nearly half a million dollars of her own money into the race – took 56% over Austin's Judy Jennings, also an education professional.

"This was fairly predictable for Mercer to do well given how he did against Tim Tuggey [a moderate Republican primary challenger]," Bell-Metereau said at the Driskill Hotel. "We just have to figure out what are we going to do for 2012, because all the seats will be up [after redistricting]. We can't let education in Texas flounder. We have an emergency situation in Texas."

Whether Farney offers hope for the reasonable segment of society remains to be seen. She campaigned as a "common sense conservative" and pledged to "put education first, not politics," but she drew doubt over her sincerity with ideological cannon fire, labeling Jennings a "Wisconsin liberal" and blasting the other party as "Amer­ica-bashing Democrats" on the trail.

Asked if Farney could be better than her awful one-term predecessor Cynthia Dun­bar, Jennings said: "I always have hope. ... I think it will be interesting to see what decisions Marsha Farney makes, whether she lives up to the independence she's tried to indicate that she has."

State Board of Education

District 5 Travis County Total
Ken Mercer (R)* 39,907 40% 262,419 59%
Rebecca Bell-Metereau (D) 53,452 54% 160,032 36%
Mark Loewe (L) 5,559 6% 20,030 5%
District 10
Marsha Farney (R) 49,081 37% 255,671 56%
Judy Jennings (D) 77,347 58% 183,214 40%
Jessica Dreesen (L) 6,524 5% 18,826 4%
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