Of the three primary elections for the Texas State Board of Education, two are heading to a May runoff. The only primary race for the State Board of Education that was decided last Tuesday was in southeast Texas' 7th district where educator Rita Ashley fell short in her challenge to incumbent social conservative David Bradley.
It's okay, Mr. Bradley, we feel the same way about your re-nomination
Ashley, who also challenged David Bradley in the Republican primary 2012, earned 44.70% in 2014, a 2.59% improvement from two years prior. Ashley has been a clerk for the Texas House Committee on Public Education, a schoolroom teacher, and an education policy advisor. Ashley also had several incumbent Republican legislators, Sen. Robert Nichols, Rep. Ritter, Rep. Dennis Bonnen, and Rep. John Otto, endorse her campaign to oust the incumbent.
David Bradley has held his seat on the State Board since 1996 and has been one of the Board's most controversial, current members. Bradley opposes sex education, rejects the theory of evolution, and does not believe in the separation of church and state. Had Ashley been successful, her win would have significantly moderated the State Board of Education. Ashley outspent Bradley by a near ten-to-one margin, but the Republican primary voters of southeast Texas were not interested in a reasonable message.
District 7 includes Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, Orange, Sabine, San Augustine, Tyler and parts of Fort Bend County.
The Beaumont Enterprise knew Rita Ashley was the most qualified Republican running for the position this year. Read what they had to say about why she was acceptable and David Bradley was unqualified to serve on the State Board of Education after the jump.
The State Board of Education probably holds the dubious distinction of being the most important statewide elected body that voters know the least about. It has 15 members, which means that each district's representative serves a region much larger than a district for the state Senate, which has 31 members.
In the contest for the District 7 seat, Republican voters would do well to elect Rita Ashley over incumbent David Bradley.
Bradley was first elected to this post in 1996 and has usually put partisan politics ahead of actual education. For years he blatantly lived outside his district, residing in south Jasper County, though the last time the boundaries were redrawn he ended up inside it.
Ashley knows that Texas students need a strong, well-rounded education to prepare them for work or college. She's conservative, but she also wants to help young Texans thrive in the complex, modern world they will grow up in.
See a complete list of who is running for Texas Senate in our Burnt Orange Report Texas State Board of Education Candidate Tracker.
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