The good news: Apparently, super right wing radical Cynthia Dunbar will not run for reelection in 2010 to the State Board of Education's 10th District. This is great news for Texas, as well as for those in Austin and elsewhere who live in the district. She only disrupts and distracts from potential progress in education.
The bad news: Ms. Dunbar plans to pick her successor.
Via the Quorum Report:
APPEARS DUNBAR WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION TO SBOE
SREC member Brian Russell says she recruited him to run for her open seat.
Republican Cynthia Dunbar, a lightning rod for controversy on the State Board of Education for her ultra-conservative views, appears to have told supporters she will not run for a second term on the board and likely will be replaced on the ballot by Austin intellectual property attorney Brian Russell, who currently serves on the State Republican Executive Committee.
Another clue she may not be running: Her website, cynthiadunbar.com, brings you to a pretty looking website that mentions the State Board of Education relatively little. Completely ignored is cynthiadunbar.com/index.htm, which directs you to a campaign site as of this posting.
He may not be quite as virally appalling as Ms. Dunbar or her colleague Don McLeroy, but Brian Russell is also a Christian Conservative that would put politics before education.
A few facts about Mr. Russell:
- He appears on Ms. Dunbar's election endorsement list.
- He endorses Governor Rick Perry for reelection.
- As Austin's member on the State Republican Executive Committee, he signed a letter about the 2009 Speakers race. The letter implied that the Anybody-but-Craddick Republicans were “working against their own Party.”
- He is the Austin contact and “Volunteer” with the Texas Eagle Forum. If you don't remember, this is the far-right conservative organization from where Cathie Adams hailed.
- Most significantly, he led SREC push for Republicans on the State Board of Education to fight for examining the “strengths and weaknesses” of all theories in science classes, including the theory of creationists.
Hopefully, the Republican primary voters will pass on Mr. Russell. The party has a reasonable looking candidate in Rebecca Osborne. Unfortunately, she no longer has Cynthia Dunbar's absolutely repugnant record to fight against. And Republican primaries tend to favor the more conservative.
That also means that the Democratic candidate also won't be able to fight against such repulsiveness. With Lorenzo Sadun stepping aside, now could be a prime opportunity to help Judy Jennings. She's currently the only Democratic candidate for the SBOE 10 seat, which is the only seat Democrats can reasonably hope to gain in 2010 . Right now, it looks like we'll need our candidate to be strong. We need a candidate that will win over Texans in the fight for truly better schools.
Update: We still do not have direct confirmation that Dunbar will step aside, but the Statesman has it that, in an email, she said a statement would be released later. They also hear from other SBOE member David Bradley that she will not be returning.
Update by Matt: This statement just came in from Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller:
“If this report is accurate, then it appears that Cynthia Dunbar realized her extremist track record made her a damaged brand in next year's election. But the only difference between her and Russell is she wrote a book savaging public education and he hasn't done that yet. Nobody should be fooled here. He holds the same anti-science and extremist views that Dunbar does, which is why she recruited him to run for her seat.”
In her 2008 book, One Nation Under God, Dunbar called public education a “subtle tool of perversion,” “tyrannical” and unconstitutional. During the 2008 president election, Dunbar attacked then-candidate Barack Obama as a Marxist and a terrorist sympathizer who wanted another attack on America so that he could declare martial law and throw out the Constitution. Dunbar has also been a leader of efforts by the State Board of Education's far-right faction to politicize our children's social studies classrooms and to promote creationist arguments against evolution in science classrooms.
In March of this year Russell successfully persuaded the State Republican Executive Committee to pass a resolution demanding that all Republican state board members obey the Texas GOP platform by supporting creationist arguments against evolution in new public school science curriculum standards. He also has served as treasurer of Legacy PAC, a Christian-right political action committee. In 2004 he served on a committee that drafted the Texas Republican Party platform, which called separation of church and state a “myth,” demanded that public schools teach “intelligent design”/creationism in science classrooms and opposed including medically accurate information on contraception and disease prevention in sex education classes.